Las Vegas Sun file photo
Monday, Sept. 12, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.
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Ryan Greene and Ray Brewer take a closer look at this weekend's UNLV home opener at Sam Boyd Stadium, as the struggling Rebels defense will hardly have a soft landing from its two tough road trips, welcoming in the always prolific Hawaii Warriors for a Saturday night showdown. Does UNLV have a chance? What type of result would be considered a success?
The all-dirt parking lot in the south and east of the stadium has been partially covered with an asphalt milling substance, an upgrade that covers about two-thirds of the dirt and should minimize the dust before and after games. Additionally, a large portion of the south entry off Russell Road was paved.
The area is popular for pregame tailgating, with fans long vocal in their displeasure of having to battle dust to enjoy the pageantry of a college-football Saturday.
“The two predominant questions I hear with football are, No. 1 the stadium issue and where it is located, and No. 1A the parking lot,” said Jim Livengood, UNLV’s athletic director. “Folks don’t want to get three car washes after going to a game.”
The project was completed by Las Vegas Paving and cost $200,000, which was paid in trade, Livengood said.
A small area in the south parking lot remains dirt, but will be watered down on game days to help limit dust, said Barry Barto, an associate athletic director in charge of special projects. Officials said the upgrades will make the experience of attending a game more enjoyable.
“I remember after the game, when people are leaving, you couldn’t see three cars in front of you because of the dust,” Barto said.
Addressing the parking lot problem required coordinating with Clark County, which owns the dirt portion of land outside the stadium, said Jeff Chalfant, the stadium manager at Sam Boyd. The current use agreement calls for UNLV to maintain (security, maintenance and upgrades) the land and requires approval for upgrades such as covering or paving the parking lot, Chalfant said.
“Technically, the county told us not to (cover) any more of it,” Chalfant said. He added that legal issues with the flood plan and water diversion also had to be considered, meaning the university covered as much of the dirt as it could.
Chalfant said UNLV is in the process of putting together a new agreement that includes the freedom to do other improvements.
“It’s so much better than last year,” Livengood said. “But I don’t want to give people the wrong perceptions. There is much more that needs to be done.”