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If the Bison make it back to Frisco, southside of Toyota Stadium will be the hot spot

North Dakota State fans and brothers Brett and Todd Knain from Fargo look over the renovations and construction work in progress at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018. David Samson / Forum News Service1 / 2
Yardline numbers are painted on the Toyota Stadium field on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in preparation for the NCAA FCS Championship game in Frisco, Texas. David Samson / Forum News Service2 / 2

FRISCO, Texas—Like so many other plats of land in the suburbs north of Dallas, the framework of a new structure greets visitors driving in from the southern end of Toyota Stadium. In Frisco, if you're not building or renovating something, you're at least thinking about it.

The last time North Dakota State reached the Division I Football Championship Subdivision title game, the facility that is home to the FC Dallas professional soccer club was in the final stages of planning for a $55 million facelift that includes a National Soccer Hall of Fame. That was just a steel shell on Wednesday, Jan. 3, when NDSU and James Madison arrived in town for their FCS title clash on Saturday, Jan. 6.

But if the Bison ever do make it back to Toyota Stadium again, look out. The southside will be the place to be. Among the perks: A 100-foot long bar in a huge club level room that will have garage doors that open to the field. For a point of reference, a 100-foot bar is about two-thirds the width of a football field.

"No brakes," said Djorn Buchholz, the executive director of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. "We want people to get in, get their beer and get right back out. The environment keeps going and going."

Buchholz said the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer, the same league as FC Dallas, claims to have the world's largest outdoor bar.

"We'll see what we can put in the Guiness Book of World Records pocket book," he said.

The new chair-back seats below the construction will be used for the first time on Saturday. Buchholz said the capacity of those is only about 200 less than the old bleachers that were used when NDSU played in title games at Toyota from 2011-15.

The chairs are blue with the exception of "FC Dallas" spelled out in white chairs. The suite-level section of the construction will be finished in July and the entire Hall of Fame structure is expected to be completed in October.

"What's different about Frisco the last couple of years is certainly the stadium changes," said Tom Burnett, commissioner of the Southland Conference that hosts the title game. "It's still under construction, but I think people will see and get a sense of what it will look like in the future. The new seats are in so we're at full capacity at least from a seating standpoint so we're back to normal in at least that way."

A teflon canopy will cover the entire south seating section.

But if you're a football and soccer fan and NDSU ever makes it back, you may want to take a good part of a day to see the new stuff. The Hall of Fame will be more of an experience, Buchholz said, and not so much a place with monuments and artifacts.

The last Soccer Hall of Fame was in New York, which closed in 2010 after 20 years.

"What's unique is we're building it in a venue where 2 million people come through a year," Buchholz said.

Jeff Kolpack
Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at www.bisonmedia.areavoices.com. On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.
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