College Facility Notes: Arizona Seeks Approval To Build $66M In Overdue Capital Projects
In Tucson, Greg Hansen noted Arizona AD Dave Heeke at the school's Board of Regents meeting this week will "ask for approval" to build $66M of overdue capital projects. Among the four centerpiece items are $25M to "re-do the ancient underpinnings of Arizona Stadium’s lower east side," while $12M will be used to "dig up the 43-year-old Hillenbrand Aquatic Center facility and start over." Hansen noted $18M will be used to "construct an indoor practice facility/fan-engagement center down the right-field line of old Kindall-Sancet Stadium" and $8M to "revitalize Hillenbrand softball stadium with fan suites, a press box and much needed shade structures" (ARIZONA DAILY STAR, 9/25).
BOILING POINT: In Detroit, Nick Baumgardner notes Purdue has "responded to what it calls 'after-the-fact concerns' expressed by Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh with regard to the school's visiting locker room facilities." Harbaugh said that Purdue's locker room "had no X-ray facilities, was too small, did not have air conditioning and felt 'no different than the facility I think I saw when I was there in 1986.'" Purdue responded with a statement: "The after-the-fact concerns expressed by Michigan are somewhat surprising because a member of its football staff conducted a walk-thru of our facilities with our athletics department staff at Ross-Ade Stadium on July 18" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/26).
CAUTIOUS APPROACH: Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said Utah is being "very deliberate and cautious" in evaluating a possible renovation to Rice-Eccles Stadium. In Salt Lake City, Lynn Worthy notes the university in March announced it would "do a feasibility study on expanding the south end zone." Utah AD Chris Hill said that the committee of approximately 10 people overseeing the study "currently meets at least once per month." While the committee has some internal timelines, Hill said that it "likely wouldn’t share any timelines before the spring when it gets more information from consultants the university has hired" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 9/25).
COMING INTO FOCUS: A K.C. STAR editorial states Kansas' "Raise the Chant" campaign to privately raise $350M for improvements to its athletic facilities is "predictable" and "dispiriting." Universities have "long been engaged in a costly battle over facilities for 'student-athletes'" and it is "hard to escape the feeling that $350 million in tax-deductible donations could be used to improve the quality of education at KU or keep tuition low." The effort is "even more concerning when you realize it focuses on football" (K.C. STAR, 9/26).