A few days ago it didn't look the Colorado athletic department was going to be able to raise enough of the money needed for Athletic Director Rick George to announce that it was time to move forward with his bold construction schedule for the new athletic facilities. Apparently that message was enough to get the push he needed with a surge of donations (or they just decided to begin anyways...).
This is huge news for all Buffaloes athletics and is a much needed move for the University to keep up with the rest of the Pac-12 Conference. Exciting times in Boulder.
From the Colorado SID:
In the past seven months, the athletic department has made significant progress on the fundraising goals and anticipates meeting that goal in the very near future. Completion of the majority of the project is expected prior to the fall 2015 football season.
CU will celebrate this announcement during halftime of the spring football game on April 12. The game, covered live by the Pac-12 Network, will kickoff at 12 p.m. at Folsom Field. The ceremony will feature remarks from CU President Bruce Benson, CU-Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano, Athletic Director Rick George and two student-athletes, Juda Parker (football) and Clare Wise (skiing).
The proposed facilities include:
· Construction of a 120,000-square-foot indoor multipurpose practice facility on top of Franklin Field, to include a 100-yard artificial turf football field and six-lane 300-meter track;
· Refurbishment of the Dal Ward Athletics Center, completed in 1991, to include an Olympic sports strength training room in the sub-basement level and new locker rooms and equipment room on the field level;
· Redesigning of Dal Ward's first floor for the expansion of Olympic sports/sports medicine, a leadership development center and an end zone club with club seating and loge boxes;
· Transforming the second floor of Dal Ward to triple the athletic department's academic support system from its current 5,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet;
· Building additional restrooms and concession areas on the east side of Folsom Field; and
· Adding a 21,900-square foot high-performance sports center on the northeast corner of the stadium, as well as a rooftop terrace on the northeast corner, converting the south offices at Folsom Field to retail space. The rooftop terrace will generate revenue by being available for rent for non-game-day events. The high-performance sports center will host collaborative research conducted by CU-Boulder Integrative Physiology faculty and researchers at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.
"Thanks to the generosity of numerous donors, season ticket holders, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the university, we're able to move forward with this project," said George. "It will greatly benefit our student-athletes and will allow us to collaborate with both the campus and Boulder communities."
"Our success in bringing in the kind of support necessary to do these renovations is due in no small part to our membership in the Conference of Champions, the Pac-12," George added. "We are honored to celebrate this announcement with our partners in the Pac-12 Network as we move toward a great future in the conference."
The CU Board of Regents approved the facilities upgrades in December, but required that one-third of the funds for the $143 million project be privately raised prior to construction. No tuition money or tax dollars will go toward the project. DiStefano and George will provide a fundraising update to the Board of Regents at its April 29-30 meetings.
George, hired in August, set a goal of raising $47.6 million to serve as seed money for the project, with the balance to come from bonds.
"The performance of Rick George and his fundraising team in his first seven months at CU has been record-breaking," said Chancellor DiStefano. "Our student-athletes, fans and community have awaited critical upgrades to our facilities for many years. We have been very conscious of the need to execute these upgrades in a responsible, deliberate and sustainable way. These facilities will help take us to the next level of excellence in the Pac-12 Conference."
The CU Student Government, which uses Franklin Field for club sports, is working with Athletics to exchange field use. Upon completion of the Athletics indoor practice facility on Franklin Field, CUSG will be able to conduct student club sports on the football team's existing practice fields and "bubble" north of Folsom Field and Boulder Creek. As a result, it would provide a vital increase in the size of CUSG-controlled outdoor recreation facilities. CUSG officials have voted in favor of the field exchange, and the CUSG Legislative Council is expected to take a final vote on the project at its April 17 meeting.
Construction near Folsom Field will displace the Campus Recycling Center and Facilities Management Outdoor Services. Both programs will move to temporary sites in May while permanent facilities are built elsewhere on campus.