Archive for the ‘Facilities’ Category



A picture of the outside of the Joe Craft Center on the campus at the University of Kentucky.

The University of Kentucky has recently announced that they will be building a new building to house their basketball team. The team has spent the past 31 years living in Joe B. Hall Wildcat Lodge, located across the street from Memorial Coliseum and the new Craft Center.

The Difference Makers, a committed group of UK supporters, donated the money for the new Lodge. Joe Craft, who supplied the $6 million to name the new basketball facility, heads the group and spurred the initiative. The new housing is to be named the Wildcat Coal Lodge to honor the unique tie Kentucky has to the coal industry and its importance in the state’s economy.

There are a couple of unique points in this story. For one, Joe Craft, along with his group of supporters, is once again supplying the school with a large donation to support the basketball program. The repeat donation is a testament to the stewardship practices at the University where the donor still felt connected to the school; even after his naming gift for the new practice facility was made. Additionally, the department was able to leverage their good relationship with Craft to find a group of committed donors willing to further support the program.

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Martin Stadium

Martin Stadium opened September 30, 1972.

Washington State University is using town hall meetings to speed the process of Phase III of its Martin Stadium Renovation. The third step in the four-phase process will feature the addition of luxury suites, loge boxes, and club seats atop the north stands of the stadium. The WSU Athletic Foundation hopes that the town hall meetings will lead to the investment in 80 percent of the club seats. If this level is reached by December 18, the renovation can be completed by the 2011 Cougar Football season, one year ahead of schedule.

Portions of Phase I and Phase II were completed between September 2007 and August 2008. Phase I included the addition renovations to the restrooms in Martin Stadium, new stadium entrances, and year round ticket office. Phase II involved another allotment of restroom upgrades, a new parking area, and a new entry gate. Each of the first two stages involved improving areas that often plague a fan’s experience at athletic events: restrooms, parking, and concessions.

There will be six town hall meetings held in some of the cities with the most Cougar supporters. Five will take place in the state of Washington (Pullman, Seattle, South Sound, Tri-Cities, and Spokane) and another in Portland, Oregon. The town hall meetings will feature Washington State Director of Athletics, Jim Sterk, and members of the WSU Athletic Foundation staff. The town hall meetings will be open to the general public with special invitations sent out to supporters in each particular area.

Town hall meetings allow foundation staffs to get in front of supporters while encouraging their participation in the planning process. By taking these presentations on the road, Washington State was able to get face-to-face meetings with many potential amenity purchasers. This is crucial for the all-important third phase of the renovation that requires mass participation to close each of the boxes and club seats. Washington State also kept the meetings open to the public to allow potential donors who might not be on its radar to attend the event. Town hall meetings can be a great tactic for development staffs to use for a variety of objectives, but it is important to limit their use to prevent over-kill with potential attendees.

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An outside the stadium shot featured on www.newkenan.com.

An outside the stadium shot featured on http://www.newkenan.com.

The University of North Carolina‘s Athletics Department has recently launched a website dedicated to the explanation of their football stadium renovation. This site joins a growing trend in college athletics of schools using a website to inform the public of the project, give great visual examples, and grow awareness of the avenues for support.

The site, www.newkenan.com, serves as a valuable tool for educating donors on the processes that will change with the addition of the site. The site features some exciting video of the football team, a sweeping shot of the stadium designed to make viewers feel as if they are on the field, and a whole space dedicated to donor support.

The new stadium will feature premium seating, suites, and club/loge seating. If a donor is intrigued by the offers, they can fill out and mail in a Letter of Intent for priority consideration for the new premium seating options.

Yet the East End Zone Structure will not only house premium seating, but also a Student-Athlete Center for Excellence. This structure will house additional academic housing, an Olympic sports weight center, and a center for leadership training. By adding these features, the new building will not only help generate revenue, but also aid the student-athletes of the school.

There are many other websites promoting their projects. Examples include the new Knight Arena at Oregon, the Gridiron Club at Kansas, and the Memorial Stadium Renovation at Cal.

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Wisconsin BadgersThe University of Wisonsin-Madison dedicated the newly created Thomas Zimmer Cross Country Course on Saturday, October 3. The course is the first dedicated cross country course the UW cross country team has competed on in decades. The course was spearheaded by gifts from Thomas Zimmer, a long-time supporter of Badger athletics and collegiate runner at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and Chuck LaBahn, a former Badger swimmer and recently retired CEO of Orion Corporation.

Zimmer cut the ribbon at the dedication ceremony prior to the course’s debut at the inaugural Wisconsin adidas Invitational. The course was put in Zimmer’s name to honor his many years of service and support to the Badger Fund. The course runs adjacent to the University Ridge golf course and allows the nationally ranked men’s and women’s cross country teams, 13th and 28th respectively in the most recent U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association National Rankings, a top of the line home course.

This gift is a great example of engaging aid from donors for non-revenue sports. With the two major donors having competed as student-athletes for non-revenue sports, they saw the rare opportunity to show support to sports often over looked by athletic development funds. Cross country courses also present a unique way to improve the competitive environment for a large number of student-athletes while not requiring constructing a brand new facility.

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Every month Athletics Development Frontier chooses a few facility projects being completed across the nation. This month we have chosen Colorado State, which will open two facilities this month, Arizona, which recently announced a 12-project plan and Tennessee, which has begun the second phase of their baseball stadium renovations.

Colorado State University

A webcam shot of the Academic & Training Center

A webcam shot of the Academic & Training Center

The CSU Rams are celebrating the grand opening of two facilities this month, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and facility tours on September 18. One facility, the Academic & Training Center, will house a state-of-the-art weight room in addition to two levels of academic space, complete with a computer lab, tutoring rooms and staff offices.

The Indoor Practice Facility, the second facility, gives CSU student-athletes an opportunity to train throughout the year without the impact of weather. In addition, it also places CSU on the same level as those in the Mountain West Conference by giving their football team a place to practice indoors while expanding space to hold multiple other sports practices at one time. The facility will contain a field, court, training track and a lobby area.

An ariel shot of the Arizona's Athletics Complex

An ariel shot of the Arizona's Athletics Complex

University of Arizona

In an ambitious announcement, the University of Arizona has recently announced a 12-project plan that will require $378 million over the next 20 years. The plan calls for a building in the north end zone of Arizona’s football stadium and an upgrade to the McKale Center, the school’s basketball arena. In addition to these two projects, the school plans on improving the aquatic center, baseball stadium, track and field stadium, soccer field, as well as the softball stadium. This article gives a good breakdown of all the projects and allocation of funds.

In announcing a 12-project plan, the university is preparing to grow and renovate nearly all their sports facilities over the next 20 years. Announcing the all planned projects enables the university to focus on raising support and decreasing the effect of announcing new capital campaigns every year.

University of Tennessee

The Tennessee Volunteers have recently started the second of four planned expansions with their baseball stadium. This set of renovations allows fans to sit closer to the field in a MVP area with permanent chairback seating. The second phase will also add a new batting cage and improvements to the visitor locker room. The first phase focused primarily on player development, while the third area will include a luxury suite and the fourth will add stands on the left-field line.

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259060.jpegThe Chancellor of KU and Kansas Athletics has submitted to the University Board of Regents for an expansion of their football stadium. The proposal seeks to add 3,000 seats on the east side of Memorial Stadium.

On the surface, this may look like a traditional announcement to expand a stadium. However, the athletics department is pledging $40 million dollars to university academics, to be dispersed at the Chancellor’s discretion. The construction of the new seats would compliment existing seats and cost around $34 million. In total, the project would cost the Athletics Department $74 million, money to be raised from revenue generated by the sales of the seats.

This proposal is groundbreaking in its commitment to the academic side of the university. In donating more money back to the university than it would cost to construct the building, the Athletics Department is showing its resolve to mesh athletics and academics. The move also enhances the chance of the stadium expansion to be approved, as the project will benefit the entire university, not just the student-athletes.

In conclusion, this commitment could change the way athletics departments around the nation approach facility construction and expansion. By guaranteeing the entire university revenue from the project, the addition is increasingly more likely to be approved.

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Mississippi State University Mississippi State Logorecently announced their receipt of a $2 million gift to aid in the construction of a new practice facility for the men’s and women’s basketball program. The gift comes from a major supporter of the university, both academically and athletically.

Richard Adkerson has been a long time supporter of the school, having graduated from the school of accountancy and received his MBA. Previously, Adkerson had made a major gift to the College of Business and chaired the MSU Foudation Board of Directors for a 7 year campaign.

Adkerson is a good example of donors from around the country who support athletics. Often times they are also donors on the other side of campus as well. Teamwork with the school’s central foundation is critical in asking for a major gift and MSU has leveraged their already existing relationships with Adkerson to jump-start their practice facility.

MSU will now begin the stewardship process with Adkerson, allowing him access to the facility and helping him see the impact his generosity is having on the sport programs.

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