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SBD/April 17, 2013/FacilitiesPrint All
Kansas Speedway President Pat Warren yesterday said that track staff and local authorities "have spoken to officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to prepare" security measures for the NASCAR races there this weekend following the Boston Marathon bombings, according to Dave Skretta of the AP. Warren noted that the increased security will be "noticeable, and that fans attending the Truck Series race Saturday and the Sprint Cup race Sunday should plan to arrive early." Warren said that there are "no plans to alter the gate policies at Kansas Speedway, such as adding metal detectors." He added that fans still would be "allowed to bring in soft-sided coolers" (AP, 4/16). Warren: "We’re pretty buttoned up when it comes to security. We feel good about what we have in place. There will be things we do that we’re not going to talk about and people won’t see, but we feel we have in the past and will continue to operate a very safe environment for our fans" (K.C. STAR, 4/17). More Warren: "It's a good idea for people to plan on a little more time getting through the gates, having their backpacks checked, their coolers checked, those kind of things. ... Certainly we're paying attention to what happened at Boston and we're not ignoring that. The policies and procedures we have in place we feel are sufficient. Certainly people are going to be paying more attention" (ESPN.com, 4/16). Warren said, “We have an emergency action plan that we put in place before the facility ever opened, and the first time that it was really used in full force was actually the second race after 9/11, which was run here in 2001. When you think about airports and security screening changes and things like that, we've never really stepped back from that level of security. One nice thing is that if you don't step back from it, you don't have to step back up when something does happen" (“NASCAR Now,” ESPN2, 4/16).
LONG BEACH FOLLOWING SUIT: Long Beach, Calif., Mayor Bob Foster and city Police Chief Jim McDonnell said that an "estimated 175,000 spectators are expected downtown" during the Izod IndyCar Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach this weekend, and "security will be heightened." McDonnell said that the department would "use intelligence gathered in the days preceding the Grand Prix and throughout the Grand Prix to their advantage." Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President & CEO Jim Michaelian said that the bombings in Boston "haven't affected ticket sales, but it is still to be determined if the tragedy will affect attendance." He added that security procedures are "not finalized." Michaelian "urged race fans to allow for extra time getting into the event." The schedules for concerts, races and other events associated with the race have "not been changed" (Long Beach PRESS-TELEGRAM, 4/17). Meanwhile, in Detroit, Mike Brudenell notes organizers of the IndyCar Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit, which will be held May 31-June 2, likely will be "extra diligent and aggressive in their public safety approach this year." It is unknown whether "body and bag searches at entry points to the 2.3-mile raceway at Belle Isle course or on buses leaving downtown for the track will be conducted." Race GM Charles Burns said that between now and event on Belle Isle, he will "continue to be in contact with the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and Detroit police and fire authorities on how best to serve the safety of race fans at and around the track" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 4/17). Burns: "We're going to have to look at all angles of the situation and the authorities will make an assessment, along with us, and then we'll go from there" (DETROIT NEWS, 4/17).
COTA CONFIDENT OF PLANS IN PLACE: In Austin, John Maher notes the Circuit of the Americas yesterday was "getting some fresh paint," and signs for title sponsor Red Bull were going up as the track is "gearing up for its first MotoGP race this weekend." With many of the racing teams planning to arrive today, there "remained plenty of details for circuit officials to attend to in the next few days," but after the attacks in Boston, security measures were "an increased concern." COTA Senior VP/Operations & GM Mel Harder said, "We feel like we have a solid plan, but we’re constantly in touch with city, state and federal officials to update our plans and get information. We do have a system in place and if we need to make adjustments, we are certainly prepared to do that." An Austin Police Department spokesperson said that the department was "on heightened alert and taking additional precautions for all events this weekend, including MotoGP." COTA VP/Public & Media Relations Julie Loignon said that fans "attending practice and qualifying, as well as Sunday’s race, would be required to pass through security checkpoints, just as they did for the circuit’s inaugural Formula One race in November." COTA officials "expect a three-day crowd of 100,000 fans for MotoGP" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 4/17).
Renovations to the Oneida Nation Gate at Lambeau Field is underway and is “expected to open in time for the coming season," according to Richard Ryman of the GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE. The gate will have “an expanded plaza extending into the east parking lot.” It is part of Lambeau Field’s Phase 2 renovation is a “$140.5 million project, paid for by the Packers without public money” that began in March and “is scheduled to be completed" in June '15. A tunnel under the plaza “will lead to a player parking area.” Permanent restrooms “will be under the plaza,” and the metal framework for the plaza/tunnel “can be seen at the construction site.” Phase 2 follows “on the heels of the addition of 7,000 seats in the stadium and other improvements costing $146 million, also privately funded.” That project is “scheduled for completion this summer.” Additional Phase 2 renovations include a “new entrance at parking lot level on the east side,” and new player facilities “in the lower level of the stadium.” The Packers Pro Shop “will move to the new ground level created by cutting away part of the north plaza.” Curly’s Pub and the Packers HOF will “close temporarily during some part of the project, probably in 2014, but the Pro Shop will remain open throughout” (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 4/17).
In Ft. Worth, Stefan Stevenson notes TCU today announced a $45M renovation of Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, after the school's trustees "recently approved the plans." Like the Amon G. Carter Stadium renovations, the project "won't begin until the funds have been raised." TCU AD Chris Del Conte said that it "would likely begin at the conclusion of next season." Architecture firm HKS said that the "court will be lowered several feet to accommodate additional rows of seating." Other highlights include a TCU athletics HOF on the main concourse (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 4/17).
EXERCISE FOR THE DEMONS: In Chicago, Cancino & Bergen report DePaul Univ. "appears to be weighing a site west of Lincoln Park for a Blue Demons men's basketball arena, signaling that a site near McCormick Place is not necessarily its slam-dunk pick." A. Finkl & Sons Co. Chair & CEO Bruce Liimatainen yesterday said that DePaul has been "in contact with his company in the last two weeks about the possibility of building an arena on 22 acres the steelmaker is vacating as it moves production to the city's South Side." He added that city officials "have been involved in the talks as well" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/17).
HUSKY FIT: In Hartford, Dom Amore reported the "official groundbreaking ceremony" was held yesterday for the UConn Basketball Development Center. The facility will "cost roughly" $35M and be ready by May '14. It will provide a "permanent home for the men's and women's teams." Each team will be able to "practice when it wants, on wider courts that will allow for drills on the side while other players are on the court." There will be areas for "meeting, film study, study halls and team meals" and "locker rooms for alumni" (HARTFORD COURANT, 4/17).
MISSOURI COMPROMISE: YAHOO SPORTS' Frank Schwab noted the college football game between Southeast Missouri State Univ. and Southern Illinois Univ.-Carbondale at Busch Stadium "will be a fun game with a lot of local alumni from both sides invested in the rivalry, but it's also fair to wonder if this is a bit of a test drive for bigger football events in the stadium." It "sure sounds like this isn't a one-time thing." But the "problem is there are no obvious FBS games to play there." Missouri and Illinois "haven't played since 2010." Missouri and Kansas "aren't in the same conference anymore, and playing at St. Louis might not make much sense for them even if they did." However, a bowl game "might be a possibility down the road" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/16).