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March Athletics Construction Roundup

This is the first in a new monthly series on construction of athletics facilities. Each month I’ll provide you with a list of athletic construction projects in progress (and recently completed) across the country, including details on budget and scope of the project.

Southern Methodist University:
With the completion of its home basketball schedule earlier this month, work has begun on Moody Coliseum. The $47 million renovation will is scheduled to be completed in January 2014. Despite a total overhaul of the arena from the ground up, this project is being considered a renovation instead of new construction as it will be built in the existing exterior frame of the 56 year old building. Moody is the home of Mustang basketball and volleyball. The official website of the project provides more information, including a photo gallery of construction progress.

University of Mississippi:
Ole Miss will spend six million dollars for architects to plan its previously announced new basketball arena. The $70 million arena is part of the larger, $100 million Phase I of Ole Miss’ building project which includes upgrades to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium as well. A second phase consisting of an expansion of Vaught-Hemingway is also planned. The arena is scheduled to open for the 2015-16 season and construction could begin as early as the end of this year.

Liberty University:
Liberty held a game in its new baseball stadium last month. Though the over five million project will not be totally completed until this summer, it is currently suitable for games. This stadium comes on the heels of recent football, track, soccer, and tennis projects.

University of Virginia:
Virginia opened its $14.5 million football indoor practice facility this month. The facility, named for former coach George Welsh, was completed despite a construction fire last year.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette:
The university has announced a $115 million plan for athletics facilities which features nine separate projects. The centerpiece is a five phase renovation of Cajuns Field which would eventually increase capacity to over 65,000. A new Athletics Practice Facility will contain football locker rooms and separate space for athletic training, strength and conditioning, and equipment operations. Other new construction includes the Student-Athlete Academic Center, Golf Practice Facility, and Basketball Practice Facility. The plan also calls for upgrades to the existing baseball, women’s basketball and volleyball, tennis, and track and field facilities. A Sports Plaza will be constructed to tie the new facilities to existing structures.

University of Texas:
Texas held a dedication ceremony for its Weller Tennis Facility late last month. The $8.8 million facility features four outdoor and six indoor courts.

Seton Hall University:
Athletic Director Patrick Lyons leads a tour of on-campus construction in this video. The two new buildings will house the campus fitness center and an athletic training center. The baseball stadium received a new scoreboard last month as well. Seton Hall has several other projects in the planning stages including locker rooms, arena upgrades, and an athletics hall of fame.

Florida International University:
FIU has some very interesting court designs that are apparently under consideration. There is no indication as to how far along FIU is in this process or if these designs are actually being considered. With on-court branding receiving national attention lately, this could be a topic to watch. Most innovations in college athletics get replicated. In addition to the rash of unique football uniforms inspired in part by Oregon, athletic departments have started adopting non-traditional turf styles made famous by Boise State. Two examples are Eastern Washington’s red turf and the purple and gray stripes of Central Arkansas’ turf. If this trend holds, many other athletic departments could have Oregon or FIU style courts in the future.

University of Arkansas:
Arkansas has added LED ribbon boards down the first and third base lines at Baum Stadium at a cost of $340,000. Last season Arkansas ranked second nationally in average attendance per game for baseball.

University of South Carolina:
South Carolina opened up its new softball stadium this month, although it is still under construction. When completed, the eight million dollar facility will seat over 1,200 fans. At the end of last month, the Board of Trustees approved $53 million for a variety of projects. New construction will result in a new football practice facility and a new building for the soccer programs. The plaza areas around Williams Brice Stadium and parts of the athletic village, including track and tennis facilities, will all receive upgrades. As a side effect of the work, football season ticket holders will see a $45 increase. The recently announced projects and softball stadium are part of a nearly $200 million building spree that was introduced back in 2006 and includes several completed projects such as the baseball stadium and a student athletic success center.

Alabama State University:
Daktronics has delivered and installed a new scoreboard at New ASU Stadium. The $62 million stadium was completed last year.

Dallas Baptist University:
Dallas Baptist opened a new baseball facility this season. Horner Ballpark was built at a cost of approximately five million dollars. The stadium opens as Dallas Baptist, formerly an independent, plays its first season in the WAC. Next year the baseball team will become an affiliate member of the Missouri Valley. All other DBU athletic programs compete at the Division II level.

University of Michigan:
A new softball stadium has been announced by Michigan. Construction will begin on the $5.3 million stadium at the end of this year’s softball season and should be completed by next season. The stadium will feature a three story building housing locker rooms, staff offices, and athletic training areas.

University of Alaska Anchorage:
UAA announced that Alaska Airlines has acquired the naming rights to its arena. The previously announced project will cost $109 million. The Alaska Airlines Center is scheduled to open in August 2014 and will house numerous athletic department functions.

George Washington University:
GWU and Arlington County recently opened Barcroft Park. The three million dollar upgrade was a joint project between the university and the county. GWU has played baseball at the county facility since 1993.

If you’re an athletics administrator and we’ve missed a project at your school, please let me know by email and I’ll be sure to add you to the list next month.

Luke Mashburn is a Game Day Operations Specialist at Kennesaw State University. You can follow him on Twitter @L_Mashburn.

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