Rendering of the expanded Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium

A new addition to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium will be completed earlier than first announced, University of Louisville officials announced Wednesday.

Because the sale of seats has gone so well, the scheduled completion date has been changed. Instead of opening for the 2019 season, it will open in 2018.

“As of today, we have completely sold out of field-level suites, completely sold out of premium boxes, and we’ve sold over 50 percent of our club seats,” UofL Athletics Development Director Mark Jurich said Wednesday.

U of L announced the stadium expansion eight months ago.

The approximately $55-million project will add 10,000 chairback seats to increase the stadium capacity to approximately 65,000.

The 10,000 new seats will be added to the north end, and construction will begin as soon as this football season ends.

“We’ve been able to usher in a whole new set of fans that haven’t been part of the University of Louisville,” Jurich said.

“It’s exciting to see that support we have from our fan base and our boosters and a new group,” football coach Bobby Petrino said.

The Howard Schnellenberger Complex, which includes a training and conditioning facility, is also being expanded more than first announced.

Coach Petrino believes that will reap benefits on the recruiting trail.

“We want to give our student-athlete the best experience so they can have the opportunity to become the best player they can possibly become,” Petrino said.

If all goes as planed, the Cardinals will play their first home game in the expanded stadium on Sept. 8, 2018, against the Indiana State Sycamores.

This story was reported by WLKY and is reposted here with permission.