Heritage Center Becomes Top Priority

In an effort to place a higher priority on the Heritage Center project, Clemson Athletic Director Bobby Robinson announced Friday afternoon, the restructuring for the schedule of the Clemson Memorial Stadium renovation project by splitting the phases, thus creating a fourth phase in the overall stadium project.

"Phase One was the Memorial Stadium East Endzone project which was completed prior to the 2000 football season," said Robinson. "Phase Two was the Memorial Stadium South Side renovation which was completed prior to the 2001 football season. Phase Three will include the North Side renovation, the leveling of Frank Howard Field and the new stadium lights which we hope to have in place for the 2002 football season. Phase Four will be the West Endzone project." The Memorial Stadium West Endzone project was originally scheduled to begin following the 2001 football season.

"At this time, our plans to build the Heritage Center have a higher priority than the Memorial Stadium West Endzone project," said Robinson. "It is on a fast track and we hope to begin construction in January 2003. The Heritage Center will benefit all 19 sports at Clemson, in addition to providing a first-class facility for the football program.

Olympic sport coaches will move into the McFadden Center, which will provide each coach a private office. This will also allow more office space for administrative functions such as sports information, video and compliance.

Additionally, a weight room in the Heritage Center will free up the existing weight room for our Olympic Sports, benefiting all 600 of our student athletes. Finally, the museum will be a showcase for all of our athletic programs and for the tradition established in these programs."

"To have a championship program you need championship facilities," said Head Coach Tommy Bowden. "The Heritage Center will greatly enhance our program in general, but it will specifically be a huge boost to recruiting. Showing a prospect a new weight room, new locker room facilities, new meeting rooms and a museum that documents our outstanding tradition in an impressionable manner will have a major impact on our recruiting efforts. Moving the Heritage Center to the top priority is a decision I agree with whole heartedly."

The Littlejohn Coliseum Annex and the Littlejohn Coliseum Renovation projects are both currently underway. The Indoor Track is scheduled to begin construction later this fall, with the renovation to Doug Kingsmore Baseball Stadium scheduled to begin following the 2002 baseball season.

"This decision to change the schedule is primarily a financial issue," said Robinson. "We currently have in progress, have competed, or are ready to begin a total of $ 41.6 million in athletic building projects. With the present national economy, we do not feel comfortable issuing bonds for an additional $ 20 million, since we recently completed the process of issuing $ 20 million in bonds. It would not be fiscally prudent to issue these additional bonds at the current time."

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