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Volume 24 No. 157


San Jose State Univ. is "planning an unprecedented upgrade of its athletic facilities, including the construction of a football complex next to Spartan Stadium that would feature a tribute to Bill Walsh," an SJSU alum, according to a front-page piece by Jon Wilner of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. In all, "five athletic projects are in various stages of development with a total estimated cost" of $16-20M. At least one "could be used by the public, and all would be privately funded." SJSU AD Tom Bowen called the facility upgrades "absolutely necessary for the future of Spartans athletics, and that's all programs." SJSU "hopes to break ground" on a $10M, 19,000-square-foot football building after the '11 season. The school is "planning to install a state-of-the-art scoreboard in the stadium, possibly in time for the 2011 season, and build new football practice fields in the summer of 2012." There also are plans for a $3-4M fieldhouse. The first floor of the football building "would house the locker room and space for a Spartan athletics Hall of Fame, where the tribute to Walsh would stand." Bowen "declined to state how much of the projected cost of the football building would be needed upfront -- the school is in the process of securing a lead donor -- but a source said the figure could be as much as" 50% (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/24).

In Arizona, Rob O’Dell in a front-page piece reports the Univ. of Arizona athletic department “has formed a working group to study future facility needs, including a potential new downtown arena.” The Athletics Facility Planning Committee includes “businesspeople and individuals involved with UA athletics.” UA AD Greg Byrne said that although the school met with Tucson city leaders and members of the downtown Rio Nuevo BOD, "we have not formed a partnership with the city or Rio Nuevo on any future facilities and do not have any plans to do so at this point." He said that the group “will set the direction of what the UA does with its facilities in the future” (ARIZONA DAILY STAR, 2/25).

WEST COAST RACING: In Seattle, Queenie Wong noted a bill that could put the state of Washington “on the map for NASCAR racing made its way back into the Legislature Thursday.” State Sen. Brian Hatfield said that he is “not optimistic that his bill will receive a hearing in his own committee this session but he wanted to put the idea back out there.” Hatfield’s bill would “authorize the creation of a public speedway authority in an area with a total population of at least 400,000.” He proposed NASCAR legislation in '07, but that bill “failed to make it through the Senate” (, 2/24).

TWO THUMBS UP: The St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce is “backing Ramsey County's foray into a possible stadium for the Minnesota Vikings in Arden Hills.” Chamber President & CEO Matt Kramer and BOD Chair Bonnie Holub, in a letter to Commissioners Tony Bennett and Rafael Ortega, said a stadium on the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant would have "profound economic benefits for our region as a whole." The Twin Cities North Chamber of Commerce Board last week “unanimously passed a resolution supporting the idea as well” (, 2/24).

TWO THUMBS DOWN: A WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL editorial states a proposal to sell city-owned Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Bowman Gray Stadium is “ill-advised and ignores the economic impact and cultural value both bring to the city.” City Manager Lee Garrity said that the idea of selling Joel Coliseum to Wake Forest Univ. and Bowman Gray Stadium to Winston-Salem State Univ. “has been discussed for years.” But the editorial wonders, “Would university management of the Joel maintain the same number and variety of events that get booked every year? WFU's interest is its basketball schedule. The rest is not part of the university's mission” (WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 2/25).