PROVO — The first phase of a multiphased, permanent BYU soccer stadium facility will be unveiled today at a noon news conference, which will also include groundbreaking ceremonies.

The Cougar men's and women's teams currently play on natural grass at South Field, south of the Smith Fieldhouse, with fans seated in metal temporary bleachers lining the south side of the field. The project phases will not affect the playing surface.

The project is a jointly funded effort involving university finances, a primary donor and a collection of other private donors.

Phase one of the project includes replacing the temporary bleachers with a 2,200-seat grandstand — featuring both chair-back and bench seating — and a permanent, dressed-up main entrance for spectators.

The second phase will be the construction of a press box and team bench areas on the north side of the stadium.

Construction of the new grandstand is expected to be finished by the first of July, several weeks before the BYU men's soccer team has its 2008 home games begin later that month.

The Cougar women's team averaged 1,734 spectators a game this year, including four matches where attendance exceeded the new facility's 2,200-seat capacity — ranging from 2,396 to 3,386.

BYU has been looking at stadium improvements for several years, and at one point had talked about a combined seating facility benefiting both the soccer stadium and the outdoor tennis facilities to the south of the stadium.