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BCS Facilities Roundup – January 2020

A highlight of the new and ongoing facilities projects across college athletics.

Football

Louisville is making several game day and fan experience improvements to Cardinal Stadium before the upcoming 2020 football season. Improvements include construction of a Fan Zone, boosted Wi-Fi access, seat re-coating process, and significant parking improvements for tailgating. Construction on these new amenities will begin in the spring.

Tennessee provided a preview of the new lockers being installed for football players over the next few weeks.

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San Diego State’s Board approved a $350M deal to purchase the Missouri Valley stadium site from the city of San Diego in hopes to turn the area into a modern multi-use stadium, public park, and a research and education hub. The school hopes to finish construction of a 35,000 seat stadium by the 2022 college football season. The plans also include 4,600 residential units, 80 acres of parks and open space, 1.6 million square feet of office and research space, 400 hotel rooms, 95,000 square feet of campus retail and 13,192 parking spaces beyond the stadium.

Basketball

University of Idaho broke ground on a new fully dedicated basketball arena which is slated to be complete in 2021. The new arena, entitled the Idaho Central Credit Union Arena, will also host lectures, concerts, conventions, and other special events. Construction of the new stadium will also include a practice gym, lockers, conference facilities, and coaches’ offices.

Georgia Tech’s athletic department announced forthcoming renovations to the Women’s Basketball locker rooms. The department also highlighted upcoming plans to update their football stadium’s LED lighting and renovations of their baseball stadium.

Oregon’s Knight Arena will be getting a facelift before the end of December 2020. The improvements include a new three-story expansion, branding update, improved locker rooms and weight rooms, and also new meeting rooms. The source of funding for the new amenities is a donor gift, and the construction is being handled by Phil Knight’s private contracting company.

Baseball and Softball

As previously highlighted, Russ Chandler Stadium at Georgia Tech will have upcoming renovations.

UNLV is making several upgrades to Earl E. Wilson Stadium (baseball) and Eller Media Stadium (softball). The baseball stadium will receive chair back seats, a shade structure, and new padding behind home plate. The softball stadium will have the addition of a new player’s lounge, upgraded perimeter fencing, and enhanced lighting. When asked about the facility upgrades, UNLV Athletic Director Reed-Francois stated “We are committed to keeping local talent here to play for the Rebels and facilities are essential to that.”

LSU Softball conducted a grand opening of their new softball training facility named the Mike Moore Performance Center at Tiger Park. “The Mike” comes complete with an indoor regulation infield. The indoor infield includes custom, motorized netting surrounding the entire surface and allows the team to participate in full infield, hitting, slapping or pitching drills regardless of weather conditions outside.

Olympic Sports

Pitt Athletic Director Heather Lyke announced a new training facility titled “Victory Heights” is in the works to be constructed on Pitt’s upper campus. The facility will accommodate the 16 other university sports besides football and basketball, and will include a 3,000 seat arena for Pitt volleyball, wrestling, and gymnastics.

Old Dominion began work on their new $3.1M volleyball facility which will seat 900 fans. The idea is that the venue will be so small that 900 fans will sound like 9,000 fans.

Rendering of the new ODU volleyball facility (Photo Credit: ODU)

Iowa is seeking approval from the board of regents to build a new 37,000 square-foot wrestling practice and operations facility directly south of their current Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The new facility will be 2 levels, and will connect to the current stadium by a tunnel. The facility will be funded by donor gifts, which already has $9M pledged to the construction.

Nebraska is proposing a budget increase of $5M for its outdoor track and field project to the Nebraska board of regents. The request comes to help the likelihood that Nebraska will be nominated to host championship events at the new track. The extra $5M will go towards new visiting team dressing rooms, meeting rooms and practice spaces. It will also cover land acquisition costs and upgrade the throws area.

Rendition of Nebraska’s new track and field complex (Photo credit: Nebraska)

West Virginia has secured enough funding to move forward with the next round of renovations, including a new Olympic Sports weight room in the Coliseum Complex. In regards to a timeline, Mountaineers AD Lyons said “We would hope to be able to bid this out in late spring or early summer (of 2020), with the hopes of having a construction company named and start on that soon after. I’m projecting – and this is wishful thinking – that by August or September of 2021, we could have the Olympic sports weight room completed. Realistically, maybe it’s later in the fall of 2021, but no later than January of 2022.” An open workout area, large glass walls and a redone stair and plaza area are part of the vision.

Rendering of WVU’s new Olympic Weight Training Room (Photo credit: WVU)

College of Charleston’s soccer stadium will be getting new improvements as a result of the addition of the United Soccer League’s Charleston Battery which will share the stadium. The stadium will be horseshoe shaped in order to take advantage of the picturesque views of the Ravenel Bridge and the Cooper River. Renovations are expected to begin in the latter half of 2020.

Naming Rights

Florida Rep. Randy Fine introduced a bill that would prevent state universities from naming their buildings or stadiums after companies or businesses and profiting off these deals. The main point of contingency is FAU and their recent deal with RoofClaim.com for their football stadium’s naming rights. Fine argues that cutting deals with businesses and corporations does not fall in line with the goals of public Florida universities and colleges.

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