SBD/January 30, 2014/FacilitiesPrint All
The Univ. of Notre Dame yesterday announced that it will move ahead with its $400M Campus Crossroads project to "add three academic and student life buildings on the exterior of Notre Dame Stadium," according to a front-page piece by Margaret Fosmoe of the SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE. The renovation will mark "the most expensive construction project in the university's history." The project's buildings will total "750,000 square feet ... with premium seating for fans and outdoor terraces overlooking the football field on the top floors of both the east and west buildings." A variety of "premium seating options -- both indoor and outdoor, and mostly club-style -- will be available on three upper levels on both sides," and a hospitality area also is "planned for the new building on the south end of the stadium." All three buildings "will be attached to the football stadium." School President John Jenkins "vows to retain the atmosphere and traditional feel inside the stadium." This is "only the second major change to the stadium since it was built."
DEAL DETAILS: The project includes a "nine-story student center/student life building on the west side, where the press box now stands." The existing press box "will be renovated into a premium seating area." The student center "will include meeting rooms, student lounges, a dining area, student organization space, administrative offices, a career services center, a 500-seat ballroom, club seating for football and booths for NBC Sports." The upper floors also "will contain boxes for home and visiting coaches, security booths, and boxes for administrative and athletic department leaders." The project includes a "nine-story anthropology/psychology/digital media center" that will be constructed on the east side. The upper floors "will contain the stadium press box, outdoor club seating for football fans, outdoor terraces, and a large space that will double as a club area and a flexible classroom, and radio booths." Jenkins said that the interior of the stadium and the football field itself "aren’t expected to be significantly altered by the project." The project "may result in an increase of 3,000 to 4,000 seats in the stadium, increasing the total current capacity of 80,795." However, Notre Dame VP/Public Affairs & Communications Paul Browne said that the improvements "may slightly reduce the seating capacity in the current seating bowl of the stadium, so a total new capacity figure isn’t yet determined" (SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE, 1/30). Jenkins said that he "expects construction will begin in one or two years and will last about 33 months as the three buildings are constructed simultaneously." The project "will be funded by private donors and bonds." In Chicago, Jodi Cohen notes school policy "requires that a certain percentage of the total cost must be in hand before breaking ground," and about $120M "will be financed by the sale of bonds" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/30).
VYING FOR VIDEOBOARDS: In South Bend, Eric Hansen notes Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly and AD Jack Swarbrick "have pushed for the addition of the video boards at Notre Dame Stadium, but there has been plenty of pushback." Jenkins said, "If you look at many pro stadiums with the big video boards, they look like a circus. They just don’t have that traditional feel, and we don’t want to lose that." Jenkins said that the desire to "have better access to data and video while attending games could be addressed through enhanced broadband connectivity in the stadium and some by the introduction of video" (SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE, 1/30).
The Brown County 0.5% sales tax that supported the '03 renovation of Lambeau Field "could end Sept. 30, 2015," according to Richard Ryman of the GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE. The Green Bay/Brown County Football Stadium District in a letter last month "suggested" the date "to leaders of local municipalities." District Exec Dir Patrick Webb yesterday said that board members are "about 16 1/2 months from being able to certify that they’ve set aside enough money to meet legislatively mandated responsibilities." A Wisconsin statute states that the tax "will be terminated 'after the last day of the calendar quarter that is at least 120 days' after certification with the Department of Revenue that sufficient money is collected." The district needs about $91M to "cover its maintenance responsibilities through the end" of the Packers' current lease in '31. It "set aside" about $50M so far, and receives about $20M annually from the sales tax (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 1/30).
The city of San Jose yesterday "urged a federal appeals court to put its antitrust case" against MLB "on a fast track, pushing for the swiftest possible resolution of the legal battle over the long-stalled plan to move" the A's to the city, according to Howard Mintz of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. The city's lawyers requested a March 24 deadline "for all legal arguments, which could allow" the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals "to set arguments and rule on the case by summer." San Jose is "appealing a federal judge's order dismissing the city's central legal argument -- that MLB violated federal antitrust laws by delaying" the A's bid to move to the city. The 9th Circuit earlier this week "called for briefs to be filed by June, a timetable that could push a ruling into the latter part of the year" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 1/29).
TIME TO GO? The S.F. Chronicle's Susan Slusser said of A’s ownership, "They don’t want to sell the team so they don’t have to, and I think they see San Jose as the market, which is understandable. It’s the heart of Silicon Valley. There is a very nice location that they have identified downtown near the hockey arena, good transportation, so I think they look at that and say the pieces are in place here for a very nice site and a nice new stadium.” Slusser said of the idea of the A’s staying in Oakland, "We know of the problems at the Coliseum, especially after last year. Oakland has come up with a couple different ideas but it’s unclear if there’s the money, if there’s the political will. Oakland has, obviously, other things to worry about besides a baseball stadium and I’m not sure that the current A’s ownership group really believes that anything can get done in Oakland in that time frame and they still own the team and they like San Jose." She noted of the A's ownership group, "They're, obviously, on the MLB portion of the legal part, which is really interesting. They're defendants in this technically so they can’t say anything but they made their preference for San Jose clear in previous years" (“Hot Stove,” MLB Network, 1/27).
Ft. Myers officials' plans to "renovate City of Palms Park and bring" the Nationals to town for Spring Training are "in limbo after the developer in talks with the city backed out of footing the bill," according to Jackie Winchester of the Ft. Myers NEWS-PRESS. City Mayor Randy Henderson yesterday said that he is "no longer optimistic the Nationals will move to Fort Myers, and the city will continue to look at how the stadium can best be used." City Manager William Mitchell informed the developer that the city "can’t meet the costs the developer proposed the city pay to renovate the stadium." The Nationals "were seeking" $36M in upgrades to the ballpark, which Lee County took ownership of in '03, but the county "couldn't meet those demands." Henderson said that he is "hopeful" another MLB team "could fill the park given that a number of teams will be looking to leave their current spring training homes in the coming years." Mitchell said that the city owes $13M on the ballpark and "taking on the stadium renovation would have increased the city’s debt" to $53-56M. He also said that the ability to "attract the Nationals, or any other team, hinges on the capability to improve the park." Mitchell added that it is "'really tough to identify how it would be possible' to finance a fix so a team would be willing to use it" (Ft. Myers NEWS-PRESS, 1/30).
In Louisville, Kyle Tucker reported plans are "in the works" for a $45M project that would give the Univ. of Kentucky football team a "new training facility and practice fields." An agenda for tomorrow's scheduled BOT meeting showed construction of a "new two-story football training structure and two practice fields with an adjoining drill area, all of which will be located at the east end of the existing Nutter Field House." The two-story structure will "house football administrative offices, locker spaces, team meeting areas, training areas, high-performance and weight-room spaces, equipment rooms, a hydrotherapy room, player locker rooms, lounge facilities, an academic lounge/study area and an entrance lobby with 'enhanced visitor amenities'” (COURIER-JOURNAL.com, 1/28).
HORNS UP: The Univ. of Texas Club announced a multimillion-dollar reinvention project for '14. The club, located on the sixth and seventh floors of the east side of the Darrel K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, recently renewed its lease through the '23 season. The project, to be completed in the spring, includes a redesigned Longhorn Bar with casual dining, new banquet seating and community Joiners Tables, a new media area with a 103-inch TV and a new Power Boardroom with HD video conferencing capabilities (UT).
FIGHT ON: USC AD Pat Haden said many fans, season-ticket holders and athletic support group members over the next couple of weeks will "receive a comprehensive survey asking them what they want" from the renovation of the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Haden: "We want you to tell us what you want. Do not let us decide for you. From that information, we will sit down with the architects and design a concept around your feedback. Then, we will see what that costs and come up with a development plan to marry the support with the cost of what you want. We will have to raise those dollars and then start construction, so it will likely be at least another year before shovels are in the ground. With that said, we will continue to make positive changes to the stadium for this upcoming season as we did last year, improving concessions, restrooms and overall cleanliness" (OCREGISTER.com, 1/25).
HARLEM SHAKE: In Chicago, Shannon Ryan reports former Harlem Globetrotters President & CEO and Univ. of Illinois alum Mannie Jackson donated $3M "to the State Farm Center renovation project." The Mannie L. Jackson Univ. of Illinois Basketball HOF will "display basketball memorabilia from the team’s history." Jackson and teammate Governor Vaughn were the "first African-Americans to letter and start for the Illinois team" in the '57-58 season (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/30).
In Sacramento, Lillis & Kasler reported two groups fighting the proposed $258M public subsidy for a new NBA Kings arena yesterday "sued the city" to "overturn the city clerk’s decision to disqualify their proposed June ballot measure." The groups, "insisting voters should get their say," argued that their signed petitions "achieved 'substantial compliance' with election laws." City Clerk Shirley Concolino "disqualified the ballot measure last week on grounds that the petitions signed by 22,938 city voters contained substantial administrative and technical flaws," and city officials have "expressed confidence that Concolino’s decision would be upheld if challenged in court" (SACBEE.com, 1/29).
GRASS IS GREENER: Blue Jays President & CEO Paul Beeston yesterday "reaffirmed the team's desire to install a real grass playing surface at Rogers Centre" before the '18 season. YAHOO SPORTS' Mark Townsend noted if the change occurs, it "will be the fourth different playing surface at the former SkyDome since it opened" in '89. The Blue Jays "started with Astroturf, which was standard for domes and retractable-roof stadiums at the time," and eventually "switched to FieldTurf as that gained popularity in MLB and the NFL before moving to the Grass3D in recent years" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/29).
THUNDERSTRUCK: The ORLANDO SENTINEL noted the scoreboard at the 78-year-old Citrus Bowl "came down" yesterday "followed by fireworks as AC/DC's 'Thunderstruck' boomed over the loud speakers." The demolition ceremony "full of pomp marked the beginning of the demolition of a facility often begrudged for showing its age and holding Orlando back." Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said that the rebuilt stadium "will launch in earnest the city's 'quest to host the college football national championship'" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 1/29).
SPEEDY SALES: YAHOO SPORTS' Nick Bromberg reported the Univ. of Tennessee "has sold out of its 40,000 ticket allotment for the Battle at Bristol." The football game against Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway is "more than 2 1/2 years away." Deposits "have been put down on 35,000 of the seats and the other 5,000 have been reserved for students." UT said that it "was working with the track to secure more seats" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/29).