We're only a few weeks away from the start of football season and a return to spending a wonderful handful of fall Saturdays at Williams-Brice. With a new indoor practice facility across the street and the area immediately around the stadium newly beautified, what is the biggest improvement you feel remains to be made at Willy B? What is your favorite thing about the stadium?
The best thing that could happen to W-B is already happening outside of it - Columbia needs to continue developing the area around it. I started college a horrifyingly long time ago, and back then (2002), there wasn't a single reason to go down to that area unless the Gamecocks or the State Fair was in town. However, with the rise of college apartment complexes in the area, breweries, and restaurants, the area is starting to come up in the world. It'll only get better as it does.
With that in mind, it'd be great if the businesses that still operate in the area that serve as nothing but parking lots and space occupiers on gameday were phased out, particularly those on the west side of Bluff Road (e.g., Budweiser) between Olympia and the stadium, as well as those on the east side of Shop Road immediately after it joins up with George Rogers Blvd. If more of those places became apartments or mixed-use areas, it'd give the area some vibrancy on gameday and otherwise that Carolina at times lacks because there's nothing around but cars, parking lots, and unused buildings.
The area really has come a long, long way. And there's actually a lot to be said for not having an on-campus stadium - ask Clemson fans how much fun navigating in and out of that mess is for noon kickoffs. But it'll only get better if and as the area continues to develop and improve.
As is, my favorite thing about the stadium is the fact that it's very easy to get in and out of on gameday, at least by massive stadium standards. Going to a game is a big enough endeavor as it is - spending 3-4 hours in traffic makes it almost prohibitive.
Prohibitive! That's the word I've been looking for to explain why I never make the effort to get out on gamedays. (Incidentally, I've decided Kaci is selecting topics with the motive of exposing my oft-documented passivity with regards to attending USC sporting events.) That being said, I have nothing to add here that someone else won't mention-beautifying the area seems like a no-brainer for, like, every conceivable reason and it seems we're well on our way.
I echo ‘Hoops' sentiments about making the area surrounding the stadium nicer as well. I lived at Stadium Suites and University Oaks when I was at USC, and while the proximity to the stadium was a major plus, the area near the apartment complexes was not so nice. I've been back for games a couple of times since I graduated, and it's nice to see that area is definitely improving. My sister is starting her freshman year at USC this year (my extraordinary jealousy, let me tell you about it), and by the time she graduates, I'd love to see the area around the stadium looking even better.
As for my favorite thing about the stadium, I think it's just the whole atmosphere inside of it. The excitement of gameday at Williams-Brice is something I couldn't have conceived of before I was a part of it and something I can't imagine going through college/life without, now that I have been a part of it.
Okay. I remember when the parking options were a lot smaller. Plus the other half the stadium was being built. So improvements...um, yeah, they have come along nicely. But, everyone seems to be on the same page here. So I agree, more mixed use with apartments, retail and businesses. Here in Atlanta, we have started a trend with Atlantic Station and Town of Brookhaven. It would be really cool to have something built like Atlantic Station's Millennium Gate as you walk towards the stadium.
Like everyone has already mentioned, the area around the stadium has improved a lot over the last few years. I also lived near the stadium as an undergrad, and it was always frustrating to me that there was basically nothing close by except the stadium and Bojangles (oh man, I ate so much Bojangles). It's improving slowly, but there's no reason for there not to be more stores and restaurants nearby to keep the area from seeming so bare. On game days the stadium has always kinda felt like it was in the middle of giant parking lot, and it's so nice that we're adding the bricks and trees right around the stadium to change that vibe.
Not to sound all sentimental or anything, but my favorite thing about the stadium is probably the memories that I have inside of it. I can't put my finger on exactly why I love Williams-Brice by saying that it has a nice video board (it does!) or that the student section is in a great location and is lots of fun (it is!) or that I like seeing the records we have painted on the ramps (I do!) but the whole atmosphere is meaningful for me in a way that's tied far more to my experience as a fan than any one great thing about the stadium itself.