Since its completion in 1959, Kimbrough Memorial Stadium (known at that time as the Buffalo Bowl) has been the home for Buffalo Football. Its seating capacity is over 20,000, the largest stadium in NCAA Division II. However, with the building of new facilities, such as the First United Bank Center, the Buffalo Athletic Park, and the more recent Bain Athletic Center, Kimbrough, along with The Box, are going to be the next projects that the University looks at going forward.
Yet WT has found itself at a crossroads with facing the future of the historic venue. Should it get behind a contemporary renovation of Kimbrough or should WT venture into a brand new football stadium made of brick and steel?
Although Kimbrough has served as the home for Buff Football as well as Canyon Independent School District football and soccer, most consider it as a historical facility in its own right. And it is, don’t get me wrong, but even if Kimbrough got the improvements it needs, it will only be a matter of time before the venue lags behind once more. Also, Kimbrough possesses no other purposes than to host high school soccer matches and football games. It cannot host large scale concerts and the like, and as a former assistant to a sound technician for these large musical gatherings, it would a pain to haul sound equipment up and down the steep slopes that Kimbrough is known for. Also, around the time of construction, builders and architects didn’t have a handicap friendly facility in mind. This also shows that Kimbrough is indeed behind the times.
“Kimbrough is more than 50 years old and can’t last forever without substantial renovations,” WT Athletic Director Michael McBroom said. “I can go on as to the benefits of an on-campus stadium. I can’t really do so with Kimbrough, outside of preserving its history.”
Now, I do not want Kimbrough to be simply left by the wayside. In fact, it serves as a great venue for the needs of the C.I.S.D. I do feel that it’s time for WT to forge an identity of its own with an on-campus stadium of its own. Being built from the ground up, a new Buffalo tradition can be built from the ground up.
Imagine a modern venue built with steel and brick, south of the President’s Home on the eastern side of the Buffalo Athletic Park. Imagine a horseshoe configuration that can expand to hold up to 20,000 supporters, creating a true home-field advantage for the Buffaloes. Imagine a “Walk of Champions”, a walkway leading from Bain all the way to the new stadium where tailgating fans and students can greet the players as they pass on route to victory. Think of this avenue as reminiscent of “The Grove” (instead lined with the likes of Lacebark Elm and Chinese Pistache rather than ancient oaks and elms) at the University of Mississippi. This new tradition would entice recruits to visit WT.
Now, if this stadium comes into being, it will be a long time coming. According to McBroom, “there are no plans to tackle this issue right now and something that will be addressed years from now, nothing in the foreseeable future.”
Even if the issue cannot be tackled anytime soon, I believe that it is a necessity down the road. Not only will the University reap its benefits both in the short term and long term, but it would be a venue that alumni, students and fans would be proud of.