Athletic director Jeff Long revealed a facilities master plan that included the new 80,000 square foot facility that will connect to Walker Pavilion. Additionally, Petrino will get two new practice fields above the lot where parking is located just south of Walker, the Hogs' indoor workout and weight lifting center.
Long did not have a timetable for completing the project, but did announce a challenge matching gift of $10 million from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. Long said the Razorback Foundation already has $2 million to go with that matching gift.
"I'd like to think we'd have that soon," he said. "We will have it. We will start soon. I'd hope very soon."
Long estimated that once ground breaking begins, the project will take around 18 months to complete.
Long unveiled other aspects of the master plan for athletics facilities, including what he said was a tentative footprint of the campus. But he said it might be "three, five, 10, 15 or 20 years ahead" of completion for all phases of the project.
Among the items in the plan is expansion of Reynolds Razorback Stadium, perhaps bowling in the stadium on the north end zone with perhaps 5,000 seats, most of them suites and premium.
"By moving the football operations to a new building that allows us to do some things on the north end of the stadium," he said. "We've identified that what we need most are club and premium seats, although we would add some bleacher seats, too."
Other items in the facilities master plan, but not on the same priority level as football operations, would be a basketball practice facility and additional concourse space at Bud Walton Arena and more club seating at the basketball facility. Long said there were also plans for expansion at baseball's Baum Stadium in right and left field with a connecting concourse between those areas, and an indoor workout facility for baseball in an expansion of the indoor track. Expansion at softball, additional tennis courts and locker rooms for track are included, too.
"We wouldn't announce this if we didn't think we could raise the funds," said Long, adding that the fund raising for facilities would be additional from the efforts in the Answer the Call RSVP fund raising program tied to football ticket priority seating.
"We could dip into that fund, but that's not the plan right now. We would like the RSVP money to go for operational needs. But that could happen. We don't think it will be necessary, though."
Long said moving football into a new facility would help complete the "centralization" of the administration offices.
"Right now, our administration staff is scattered around our campus," he said. "We'd be able to move them to one location, the Broyles Center."
Long said that indications from fans tell him that ground breaking "will be sooner than one year. We certainly hope and expect it to be that soon. We expect to have the vast amount of the funds before we take this to the board."
There is no name for the new football operations building.
"There could be naming rights for the building and there would be additional naming rights inside the building," Long said. "We think the $10 million from the Reynolds Foundation is significant and will energize our fan base. Significant. That's a very significant gift."
Long emphasized that the team would continue to have game day locker rooms in the Broyles Center.
"We want our team to run through the 'A' from the Broyles Center in our traditional way," Long said, "but they will have every day locker rooms that will be used 360 days of the year at the new operational facility, along with expanded training facilities, a new museum, meeting rooms and offices.
"Coach Petrino has been involved with these plans and he will be more involved as we move along. He's excited. Our fans should be excited. I am very excited. We think with these facilities -- and Coach Petrino believes it -- we have a chance to win a national championship some day."
Long said the announcement came this week so that the campus would be energized for Homecoming weekend when the Razorbacks play host to Vanderbilt on Saturday night.
"We wanted to have the announcement before Homecoming," Long said. "We think this will excite everyone as they come back to campus for this weekend."
Long said the stadium expansion "did not need to be to 90,000 seats. We probably need only about an additional 5,000. We need a combination of club and suites and we'd also add some bleachers. We have 134 suites for football now and we still have demand, still have a waiting list."