Rutgers Univ. officials “took the first step" toward renovating Rutgers Athletic Center yesterday by hiring Michael Graves & Associates to design a plan for the basketball facility’s new look, according to Tom Luicci of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti said that the “long-awaited upgrade will likely take place in phases … and could take two to three years to complete.” The final cost “is expected to be in the range of Pernetti’s initial renovation plans for the building two years ago," which was $30M. The majority of the cost will be "covered through fundraising efforts.” Pernetti said that as soon as the architectural firm “returns a conceptual plan -- expected in July -- he will have a more accurate final cost.” Luicci notes additions and deletions made to the proposal “will affect the final price tag.” The RAC, which opened in ’77, “has remained virtually unchanged with the exception of new locker rooms.” Plans call for “a modern practice facility for men’s and women’s basketball as well as new strength, conditioning, training and equipment rooms, and offices for the athletic department.” Air conditioning and a new scoreboard “are also priorities” (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 5/31).
The city of Jacksonville yesterday "withdrew its charge" that the team defaulted on a contract with the city after Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan sent city officials a “blistering letter, saying he was ‘shocked,’ ‘perplexed’ and ‘at a loss’” by the action, according to Timothy Gibbons of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Khan in his letter said the city “took an ‘unprecedented’ step" by claiming the team defaulted. Just hours later, the city dropped its charge, calling it a "misunderstanding." The city included “apologetic letters from the mayor and general counsel.” Khan in the letter said, “Please advise us of the method of your implementation of the default and termination, if that is your intention. We are on the cusp of training camp to begin the NFL season and will need to act quickly.” Jaguars Senior VP/Communications & Media Dan Edwards said that the statement “was not to be read as a threat.” Mayor Alvin Brown said in a letter to Kahn, “As a city, we have no interest in doing anything but strengthening our relationship with you and the entire Jaguars organization.” Gibbons notes the issue arose when two companies -- SMG and Global Spectrum -- submitted proposals to run EverBank Stadium. Within a week, the Jaguars sent the city a letter saying it had picked SMG, which has been managing city facilities since '91 (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 5/31).