Former Citadel athletic director Les Robinson liked to call Johnson Hagood Stadium "the front porch" of the military school.
"It's more than a football stadium," Robinson said. "It's a place where Citadel alumni take great pride in coming to events like homecoming, much more than at other schools. It's our front porch."
When Robinson spoke those words in September 2002, the front porch, built in 1948, was a rusted-out hulk and looked like it might collapse at any moment.
Six years later, in 2008, the Bulldogs opened play in a renovated Johnson Hagood Stadium that is the envy of almost every Football Championship Subdivision school in the country.
The $42 million, three-stage renovation -- paid for with a mix of public and private funds and in conjunction with the National Guard, which has armory space at the stadium -- produced a 21,000-seat venue complete with a six-story West Side Tower that boasts a press box, 19 skybox suites, 480 club-level seats and a club-level lounge featuring polished wood bars and flat-screen TVs.
There are also 10,496 new seats on the home side, including 2,442 chairback seats. The best part for male Citadel fans who remember "the wall" at the old stadium: nine new bathrooms. The stadium also boasts a $1.4 million scoreboard complete with big-screen video and the $3 million Altman Athletic Center, which houses locker rooms and meeting facilities.
Across town, the College of Charleston's flagship sport of men's basketball also got a new home: the new Carolina First Arena on Meeting Street.
The 5,100-seat facility, built for about $45 million, opened in November 2008. It replaced the F. Mitchell Johnson Center, which seated 3,500.
In addition to the basketball facilities, Carolina First Arena includes locker rooms for multiple sports, a strength and conditioning area, expanded practice areas, an academic support area and a sports medicine facility.
The College of Charleston also made big strides at its Patriots Point Athletics Complex, which opened in 2001 and is home to baseball, softball, soccer and tennis.
The school completed a $3 million renovation project in 2007 for the baseball, softball and soccer area, which includes locker rooms, training facilities, press box and other amenities. The baseball stadium seats 2,000 and has a covered seating area, along with a 4,200-square-foot indoor practice facility.
The tennis facility opened in 2004 and has nine outdoor, lighted courts along with a 3,000-square-foot clubhouse.
The school also completed a $2 million renovation of its Stern Center Pool in October 2000. The natatorium has glass windows on three sides and three underwater viewing windows, along with a spectator area seating 180 on the second floor.