Razorbacks prepare for more athletic construction | Arkansas Blog

Razorbacks prepare for more athletic construction

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CHAT AND CHEW: Concept drawing of proposed center where Razorback athletes will eat and study.
  • CHAT AND CHEW: Concept drawing of proposed center where Razorback athletes will eat and study.

The University of Arkansas athletic department announced today that it was preparing to embark on a new phase of the huge master athletic facilities plan, some $45 to $60 million in new work. A football building is currently under construction in the plan, estimated to cost $320 million over time when it was approved in 2010.

The key components, with estimated costs:

* A basketball practice facility. $20 to $25 million.

* A "student-athlete success center," further described as an athletic academic and dining facility). $18 to $23 million. A special dining hall is required to meet the special needs of sports nutrition, the news release says.

* A baseball and track indoor training facility. $7.75 to $9.625 million.

Comment: Winning, particularly in football and basketball, the major revenue sports, becomes more important than ever.

Full details follow in UA release.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Razorback Athletics is moving forward with planning for the next phase of the Athletics Facilities Master Plan. The University has issued Requests for Qualifications (RFQ) for both the architect/engineer design team and for the construction manager/general contractor (CM/GC) team for three facility projects - a basketball practice facility, a student-athlete success center (athletic academic and dining facility) and a baseball and track indoor training facility.

“As the football center continues to progress, we are taking the necessary steps for the planning of the next three facilities in our Athletics Facilities Master Plan,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. “The basketball practice facility, student-athlete success center and the baseball and track indoor training facility are essential to the future success of our program. Our focus remains on providing student-athletes with the resources they need to win in the Southeastern Conference and nationally. We are grateful to the Donald. W. Reynolds Foundation and its chairman, Fred W. Smith, for their $1.25 million gift toward the student-athlete success center. We hope others will join them in financially supporting these projects that will benefit more than 460 student-athletes annually.”

Per the University approval process, once the RFQ is completed a recommendation will be made to the Board of Trustees for approval. The projects will be funded entirely by athletic revenues, gifts, and bond proceeds from a future bond issue. No University funds will be required to complete the projects. A timeline for the projects has not been established and will be contingent on Board of Trustees approval and successful fund raising efforts.

The basketball practice facility would be located south of Leroy Pond Road, between Bogle Park and the Gardens, across from Bud Walton Arena. The approximately 70,000-85,000 square foot facility would include all operational components for the men’s and women’s basketball teams. The building will include separate gymnasiums for the men’s and women’s teams, which is now standard among Division I-A basketball programs. In addition to two full courts with side baskets, the building will house locker rooms for men and women, weight rooms, training rooms and associated office areas, coaching staff suites, meeting rooms, team lounge, and a museum component for recruiting purposes and for highlighting the achievements of the basketball program. The total project cost of the basketball practice facility is currently estimated at $20-25 million.

The Student-Athlete Success Center would serve as the new home to the Bogle Academic Center and the department’s career development and student-athlete development programs. The Bogle Academic Center, currently located in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, was constructed when men’s and women’s athletics were separate departments.

The proposed Student-Athlete Success center would help address the academic, nutritional, personal and professional development of more than 460 student-athletes in a 47,000-58,000 square foot facility, creating an integrated academic support program focused on graduation of all student-athletes at the University of Arkansas. The facility would accommodate multiple learning environments including academic advising and course preparation, leadership training through the Razorback Leadership Academy, career planning and service learning. The center would also house student-athlete educational programs designed to foster healthy life choices and maximize performance through nutrition.

The facility would include tutorial rooms, group study rooms, quiet study areas, a computer lab, and learning laboratories focused on mathematics, sciences, and language skills as well as a 500-seat auditorium, which could be made available to campus for special events.

To support the health of student-athletes and meet the specialized needs of sports nutrition, a dining hall and a full-service kitchen would be integral components of the building. The facility would also include offices for the sports psychologist, nutritionist, and student-athlete development staff. The total project cost of the student-athlete success center is currently estimated at $18-23 million.

The proposed location for the baseball and track indoor training facility is on the north side of the existing Randal Tyson Track Center. The facility would provide 40,000-45,000 square feet of climate-controlled practice space, including a practice infield, throwing area, batting areas, and ancillary team spaces. The facility would allow all throwing events in SEC or NCAA Championships to be held in the new facility. Currently the weight throw is contested at the Walker Pavilion. In addition, the baseball and track indoor training facility would feature a shared strength and conditioning space and training room for both programs. This facility would serve more than 150 student-athletes annually. The total project cost for the baseball and track indoor training facility is currently estimated at $7.75-$9.625 million.

Unveiled in October 2011, the Razorback Athletic Facilities Master Plan provided a vision and the road map for $320 million of facility renovations and additions that will help all 19 Razorback sports remain competitive in the Southeastern Conference and nationally over the next 30 years. The first major project from the master plan, the football center, is currently being constructed with a targeted completion date in 2013.

For more information regarding Razorback Athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.

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