Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- USC's first home game of the 2011 season is this weekend and there are some changes coming at Williams-Brice Stadium.
The university recently purchased the property next to the stadium where the old State Farmers Market was located. The long-term plan is to make that a green space with trees but those spots will be open this season for parking and tailgating.
Jeff Davis, USC Associate Athletics Director for Operations and Facilities says most of the 3,000 spaces at the farmers market have been pre-sold, but the lot will still have first-come, first served spaces for others.
And you'll see more changes inside the stadium.
Davis says they've added 30 new wheelchair positions in the south endzone and along with each of those spaces a companion seat.
They've also added a women's restroom on the northeast side of Williams-Brice with about 24 new stalls to relive strain on that area.
He says midway through last season, detachable camera lenses longer than six inches hit the list of things not allowed inside the stadium.
Davis says the policy for bags has gotten some clarification that will allow backpacks and other bags inside this year. He says they made the change because the policy's language that used to say no oversized bags, was unclear.
"Our policy was somewhat ambiguous so we did a template that will allow any bags in, including backpacks. All bags are searched upon entry into the stadium we encourage fans no to bring bags, but if you need to bring bags it has to fit the template to be allowed in the stadium," said Davis.
Davis says all bags must be 17x12x10 inches or smaller.
The same rules apply for what you can and cannot bring into the stadium, with items such as food, alcohol, weapons and noisemakers remaining prohibited. Davis says all bags will be checked for contents and size. You can bring in one sealed bottle of water.
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Davis says USC encourages fans to come into the stadium early to cheer on the Gamecocks during warm-ups before the game. He says Gates 4, 14, 16, 22 and 25 will open two hours before kickoff. All other gates will open an hour and a half before the game.
You'll see a few changes on the concessions end at Williams-Brice as well.
Centerplate, the company that handles the food at the stadium, says they're streamlining the menu, meaning where you may have had several options of hot dog items, you'll see fewer choices.
Fans sitting in the upper south area won't have to change levels to get some grill options. The company says they've converted one of the regular concessions stands in that area to a grill with options like chicken tenders and Philly steaks.
Centerplate says they won't have any price increases, and they plan to focus on customer service, including getting customer back to the action more quickly.
Davis says USC wants to remind fans that they can text if they need help or run into problems at Williams-Brice. All you have to do is text "USC" followed by your problem and location to 69050.