SBD/July 19, 2011/Facilities

Wave Of The Future: Tulane AD Determined To Build On-Campus Football Stadium

Tulane football program struggles to fill 73,000-seat Superdome
Tulane AD Rick Dickson has spent 16 "consecutive weeks on the road armed with visions" of building a $60M, 25,000- to 30,000-seat on-campus football stadium, according to Tammy Nunez of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. Dickson believes that "too much money has been raised so far for this to be a fruitless endeavor." The initial goal "is to get to go $35 million -- the threshold for green-lighting the project." Dickson said that "getting the naming rights gift of $20 million will get Tulane there." A naming-rights partner is the "only thing keeping" Tulane from bringing football back to campus for the first time since the '70s. Dickson: "It ain't going to be easy. I know that. But I'm absolutely compelled that it will happen." Nunez noted the concept of an on-campus football stadium “has been the hot-button issue of the past 30 years for Tulane athletics.” Tulane’s football team plays primarily at the Superdome, and “even in the glory days of the program Tulane fans struggled to fill a third of its approximately 73,000 seats.” In January, basic renderings of a stadium “were developed for presentations.” The Tulane athletic department “vetted a list of potential donors for the project and set a schedule to make pitches to them.” But the first shovel “won’t crack dirt on Tulane’s campus without significant money in hand.” The university “relies on private donations and won’t proceed without at least 90 percent of the funding secured.” Still, Dickson “remains confident he can garner support, in a monetary sense, for a football stadium on campus.” He said, “In the last three years, two major facilities have been completed. ... So I’m confident that we’ll also complete the third one” (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 7/16).

WORK IN PROGRESS: Univ. of Alabama-Birmingham Associate VP/PR & Marketing Dale Turnbough said that “work on the feasibility study for an on-campus football stadium at UAB has yet to be completed.” A UAB Facilities Division Major Capital Projects report indicated that the feasibility study “had been completed under the direction” of UAB AD Brian Mackin and VP/Financial Affairs & Administration Richard Margison. But Turnbough said that “the feasibility study ‘is still a work in progress’ and has not been presented to school President Carol Garrison.” Turnbough added that “no firm date has been set to approach the board about the possibility of building an on-campus football stadium” (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 7/17).
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