JACKSONVILLE – Mark Lamping said an objective for more than a year has been to find a creative way to reduce the number of tarped seats at EverBank Field.
Lamping, in his second year as the Jaguars' president, said one effect of the stadium enhancements announced by the team and City of Jacksonville Wednesday will be the removal of all North End Zone seats that previously were covered by tarps.
"Don't miss what this project does – this project eliminates the tarps in the North End Zone," Lamping said shortly after a late afternoon press conference at EverBank Field.
Lamping and Jaguars Owner Shad Khan each previously had expressed interest in removing the tarps, with the challenge being getting the seats back in the stadium for the Florida-Georgia game.
Lamping said the design for the North End Zone renovation allows that, with designs calling for a platform to extend over existing seats that will allow temporary North End seating similar to temporary seating currently installed for Florida-Georgia in the South End Zone.
"We end up eliminating 7,000 seats, including all of those seats that were tarped in the North End Zone," he said. "What we were always looking to do was to find a way to replace the tarps with something that added something to the stadium. That's what this does.
"We talked a lot about it from the very beginning. We just couldn't come up with a way to do it. We were always trying figure out, 'Put the platform in, then remove the platform so that the seats are now uncovered (for Florida-Georgia).' That was too expensive. So now we kind of turned it around and said, 'Let's make the platform permanent and then put the seats on top of that.' That's what we did."
Lamping said the capacity for Florida-Georgia will remain the same, while official capacity for Jaguars games – 67,246 – could drop by about 1,800.