It's hard to believe that by the time the Cats take the field for the first time this Fall, it will be in the newly expanded Bobcat Football Stadium. The project officially got under way yesterday afternoon in Bozeman, and is expected to be completed in time for the 2011 kickoff.

Montana State University President Waded Cruzado laughed loudly as she swung a backhoe around the bleachers Friday afternoon at Bobcat Stadium.

She wasn't joyriding in heavy machinery. She was celebrating the ground-breaking of the stadium end-zone project.

"Today is a day of new beginnings," Cruzado told the crowd.

She recalled meeting with MSU Foundation representatives last summer to discuss the project.

"We said to ourselves ‘Let's build an end zone!'" Cruzado said.

The foundation announced in October that it was raising money for a stadium renovation. The community rallied and three months later MSU Foundation President Michael Stevenson announced that the nonprofit organization had exceeded its $10 million goal.

The stadium overhaul includes purchasing a new scoreboard and building a concession area and locker room for opposing teams.

Head Football Coach Rob Ash joked Friday that the Bobcats would be even more intimidating once their opponents have to walk the gauntlet by the student section to enter the field.

The project will build new grandstand bleachers that wrap around the end zone, adding 5,200 seats to the stadium. When the project is finished, there will be a total of 17,000 seats.

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