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Louisville requests study on expanding Papa John's Cardinal Stadium

The Louisville athletic department has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for feasibility studies on expanding the open north end zone of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

Andy Lyons

In what is the first concrete evidence that the University of Louisville is even interested in again expanding Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, the athletic department has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for a feasibility study on expanding the currently open north end zone. The request is not for bids to actually do the expansion work, it is only to perform a feasibility study on whether or not it is financially viable for Louisville to expand the seating in the end zone that currently is only enclosed by the Howard Schnellenberger Football Complex (which is itself about to be expanded).

Head coach Charlie Strong made a passing comment in September that should the program continue to win, perhaps they would be able to expand and enclose the stadium. This RFP is the first indication that his comment was anything more than talk from a big dreaming head coach.

The key portions of the RFP make it clear that the expansion plans would be limited to the north end zone but do not list any specifics about whether or not the plans would fully enclose the stadium or would just add additional sections to the lower levels that already exist and bring them closer to the Schnellenberger Complex. The original plans to expand Papa John's included an additional section on both ends of the bottom bowl of north end of the stadium but were jettisoned in favor of an expanded upper deck and other amenities. That addition was completed in 2010.

Louisville is still currently in the fundraising stage for adding the Maker's Mark Academic Center of Excellence to the south end zone of the stadium. There's no estimated start or completion date for that project either. While this RFP for a feasibility study is an extremely preliminary step in the process, it does indicate that there is at least some discussion and consideration of adding additional seating to the stadium as the Cardinals enter the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and play a significantly better college football schedule beginning in 2014. The team is currently on pace for its highest attendance for a season in school history.