Clemson unveils facility improvements

CLEMSON - A $50 million athletic facility enhancement project was announced by Clemson University on Friday.

The five-year plan includes improvements to facilities for football, basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis and golf.

Three sources will fund construction. In addition to private gifts and athletic revenues, a committee led by Ed and Jane Duckworth will implement a fundraising strategy.

"Facilities are a vital part of tracking the best students, faculty and coaches," said Neill Cameron, vice president for university advancement, who read a letter from university president Jim Barker during Friday's presentation. "I have visited many division one universities, and there is definitely a facilities arms race. Our goal is not just to keep up, but to win."

Football improvements will include an indoor practice field and completion of the WestZone project.

The practice facility will include a regulation-size artificial turf field, coaching towers, video platforms and garage style doors. It will be located at the current practice fields.

Total cost of the indoor facility is $10 million. Completion of the WestZone project will cost $15.3 million.

Head coach Dabo Swinney happily welcomes the completion of one project and the start of another.

"We're blessed in football. Where we've been able to move into is an incredible facility, but you're always trying to get better," he said. "You're always trying to tweak. This indoor facility is not only going to be a great benefit for our team and allowing them to have skills and drills at any time."

Construction on the northwest concourse expansion is slated to begin soon and is expected to be done by the start of the 2011 season.

The indoor facility is on the Board of Trustees' January agenda.

"There's approval through campus planning, as well as the state budget control board," said athletics director Terry Don Phillips. "There's some bureaucratic time frames that we have to work in that we don't have control over."

Basketball improvements include a new practice floor and multi-purpose room. The additional practice space will be constructed at the southwest corner of Littlejohn Coliseum.

An open-air pavilion that's available for concerts and private parties is included with the basketball facilities.

Total estimated cost is $5.1 million.

"I think it shows a commitment by our athletic department and our university to our basketball program," said head coach Brad Brownell, who first saw the renderings two months ago.

"Not only are the facilities important for recruiting, but to have the necessities that you need to make your players better."

Enhancements at Doug Kingsmore Stadium are estimated at $5 million.

The project is primarily a players' facility, similar to the WestZone, behind the first-base side seating.

It will include a "Lobby of Legacy," locker room, training room, laundry and kitchen facilities, coaches' office, players' lounge, study areas, meeting spaces and suite and club level seating.

Renovations to Riggs Field will cost $6.1 million. The project includes a "Championship Plaza" behind the stands, landscaping, improving the stadium entrance, construction of a multi-purpose room under the stands, new seating behind the goal, enclosing the open area underneath the visiting side stands and a new scoreboard.

Tennis facility upgrades include the addition of two new indoor courts, landscaping and enhanced entrances to the outdoor courts and new covered fan seating.

Partnered with the city, a new pedestrian bridge along S.C. 93 will tie in with the entrances to Riggs and the tennis facility. The university and the City of Clemson secured $800,000 in federal funding. The Pickens County Transportation Committee contributed an additional $200,000 in local matching funds.

Also included is the Larry B. Penley Jr. Golf Facility, which is already under construction. The building is a three-story, 6,600-square-foot facility that will include meeting rooms, offices, a repair shop, service kitchen and locker rooms.

The building, which is located behind the golf team's driving range at the Bobby Robinson Golf Practice Facility, will cost an estimated $2.6 million. Top Stories