[Update] University of Arkansas Board OKs Additional Razorback Athletics Projects

by Mark Carter  on Friday, Sep. 7, 2012 10:30 am  

A basketball practice facility is proposed in a recently released facilities master plan for Arkansas athletics. (Photo by Populous/UA Media Relations)

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

Additional athletic facilities projects totaling more than $50 million were approved by the full University of Arkansas Board of Trustees on Friday.

Included in the projects are a basketball practice facility, dining hall/computer lab and baseball/indoor track facility upgrades.

"We are pleased to be moving forward with these important projects as part of the second phase of the Athletic Facilities Master Plan,” Athletic Director Jeff Long said. “The student-athlete success center and basketball practice facility will help us match the facilities of competing institutions while our baseball and track indoor training facility will help us lead the national trend. We are appreciative of the continued support of our Board of Trustees as we strategically plan and build facilities that are essential to the future success of our program.”

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The University of Arkansas took the next step in the athletic department's master facilities plan Thursday, when a UA board of trustees committee approved several projects, including a basketball practice facility.

The full board, meeting at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's Donaghey Student Center, will vote on the projects Friday. It is expected to approve the projects.

Last year, the board approved $140 million in bonds for facilities upgrades on the Fayetteville campus that included $35 million for a new football operations center, currently under construction.

Thursday's committee vote puts the UA closer to moving forward with the following projects:

  • A basketball practice facility for the men's and women's programs. It will be located across from Bud Walton Arena on Leroy Pond Drive. Its estimated cost is between $20 million and $25 million. Arkansas is the only men's program in the Southeastern Conference without a dedicated practice facility for basketball. MAGH and Populous are lead architects; the contractor is CDI Contractors LLC of Little Rock.
  • A baseball/track indoor practice facility. Its estimated cost is $7.5 million to $9.5 million, and it will be built adjacent to the Tyson Track Center and Baum Stadium. The architect is Witsell Evans Rasco of Little Rock and contractor will be Kinco Constructors of Little Rock.
  • A student-athlete academics center, costing $18 million to $23 million. The facility will be located on Meadow next to McDonnell Field. Lead architect is Wittenberg Delony & Davidson Architects of Little Rock and the contractor is VCC of Little Rock.

Also Thursday, the board's building committee approved financing for a new, $20 million building devoted to classroom space and teaching labs at Dickson and Duncan streets and gave the go-ahead for renovation of the old campus fieldhouse into a $17 million performing arts center in the center of campus.

Chancellor David Gearhart of the Fayetteville campus told board members the new building is necessary to meet an expected short-term increase in enrollment to 28,000 students. Currently, the UA has about 24,600 enrolled, and enrollment has grown by 6,000 since 2007, Gearhart said.

The athletic department pledged to donate $1.25 million through the life of the 30-year bond to help pay for the new facility, thanks to an expected revenue boost from the SEC's new TV deals.

Miller Boskus Lack of Fayetteville and the Smith Group of Detroit will handle the architecture; Nabholz Construction Services of Conway will be the contractor.

The performing arts center will be named for Joyce and Jim Faulkner, who Wednesday pledged to give $6 million for the renovation. 

Lead architects will be Allison Architects of Little Rock and the general contractor will be Manhattan Construction of Atlanta.

Also, Gearhart said the UA will develop 700-800 new parking spaces on the west side of Razorback Road across from McDonnell Field on property already acquired by the university. Gearhart doesn't expect student fees to be raised to help finance any of the projects, calling that possibility a "worst-case scenario."

 

 

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