Ten years ago, New York State invested $22 million in building Stony Brook University's LaValle Stadium, Suffolk County's largest outdoor athletic facility. Officials are looking towards a future expansion to the tune of $5.7 million for the stadium that officials hope will take it to an even higher level.
State Sen. Ken LaValle, R-Port Jefferson, said in a recent interview with Patch that the money will allow the existing 8,300-seat stadium to be expanded to seat 10,000. LaValle – who can often be seen wearing a red Stony Brook hat – said there are additional plans to bring the stadium to a seating capacity of 15,000 in the future. It will not only help in recruiting athletic talent, he said, but it will also bring the community on board even more.
"The stadium is first class. ... The students have gotten into the athletic program. It adds to the quality of student life," LaValle said. "The community is into Stony Brook sports."
According to a spokesman for LaValle, an $8 million allocation for the new basketball arena in 2006, $3 million was re-appropriated for LaValle Stadium in 2007 – which is still built into the 2012-2013 budget. Together with $2.7 million in 2009 specifically budgeted for stadium expansion, the athletic department has yet to determine specifically how the $5.7 million will be used at LaValle Stadium.
"At this time, we are taking a close look at our specific needs and will continue to work internally, as well as with the Senator, to develop a plan for eventually moving forward with expanding the capacity of LaValle Stadium in order to match the growing demands of Stony Brook's athletic programs," said Fiore, who credited LaValle with securing the funding.
While its seating capacity is 8,300, the stadium currently does have standing-room capacity for many more. LaValle Stadium welcomed a crowd of 10,278 – its largest one yet – on Sept. 22 for its Homecoming football game against Colgate, which the Seawolves won in a thrilling comeback style, 32-31. It was only the second time the stadium saw a crowd of more than 10,000 fans; the first time was during the 2010 men's NCAA lacrosse quarterfinals. It is Suffolk County's largest outdoor athletic facility.