Hogs Move Forward on Football Center

Athletic director Jeff Long is ready to take the next step in the process to build Bobby Petrino a new football operations building. A finance plan will be sent to the UA Board of Trustees.

Bobby Petrino has a nice talking point for the last two weeks of football recruiting. The athletic department is moving another step closer to building a $35 million football operations building for Petrino and his football coaching staff.

Razorback Athletics will seek approval from the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees to move forward with plans for the construction of a new football center. The athletic department is requesting approval for a financing plan that would allow the project to proceed based on private funding that has already been secured. Last fall athletic director Jeff Long announced that the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation had given the department a $10 million matching gift.

Arkansas recently completed one of the most successful football seasons in school history. The Razorbacks posted a 10-3 record and earned the program's first bid to the Bowl Championship Series, appearing in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

"With the tremendous success of our football program, the lead challenge grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and the response of many of our supporters, I am confident that we are able to take the next step in the process of building the football center," Long said in a school release Saturday. "We have made significant progress toward our fundraising goal and the next step includes proposing a financing plan that will allow us to move forward in the process. By utilizing this financing plan, we will be able to maintain the overall progress of the project while continuing to raise funds needed for the completion of the football center."

The school release said the design and cost estimates of the entire project, including re-location of the practice fields, construction of a new parking deck below the practice fields and other affiliated projects, are still being finalized. The proposed financing plan would provide up to $35 million in funding for the project. As part of the plan, a request has been made for approval to issue up to $25 million in bonds. This step of the process is to request approval of a resolution expressing the Board of Trustees intent to issue bonds. Approval for the actual issue of bonds will be made at a later time. Bonds have been used previously in the financing of major athletic facility projects including the construction and renovations of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Bud Walton Arena, Bogle Park and Baum Stadium. The request for bond financing for the football center is part of an overall bond proposal being presented by the University at the next scheduled board meeting on Friday, January 28 in Little Rock.

Plans for the football center include construction of a new locker room, team meeting rooms, athletic training room, equipment room, a student-athlete lounge and study area, coaches' offices, a recruiting reception area and a football museum celebrating the tradition of Razorback Football. The proposed football center would be constructed immediately south of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium adjacent to the Walker Family Training Center. Football practice fields currently at that location would be re-located to the south side of the Walker Family Training Center.

Plans for the football center were developed in conjunction with an ongoing facilities master plan being developed for Razorback Athletics. Pending Board approval of the financing plan, a construction timeline will be developed for the completion of the football center.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories