New Name, Renovation In Store For The Disch

The University of Texas Board of Regents Wednesday approved a 15-year naming rights arrangement with University Federal Credit Union that will rename the Longhorn baseball stadium UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The approximately $13.1 million deal will also hasten the beginning of the long-sought renovation project at the aging stadium.

AD DeLoss Dodds, with several members of the 2006 Longhorn baseball squad as a backdrop and with UFCU president and CEO Tony Budet and Texas head coach Augie Garrido nearby, made the announcement near home plate of the Disch.

Construction on the $18 million project will begin after the '06 season with an estimated completion prior to the 2008 season. Donations will account for $7 million of the overall cost with bonds issued for the remaining $11 million. Dodds said that $4.2 million of the $7 million in donations has already been committed (from five total donors, none former players), with $1.5 million of that coming from University Federal. The remainder of UFCU's commitment will be $750,000-$900,000 per year to cover the first 15 years of the 20- to 30-year bond term.

Garrido, introduced by Dodds as "absolutely the best baseball college coach in America," said: "On behalf of the players, coaches and staff that make up the baseball program here at The University of Texas, all of us will benefit greatly from this generous gift. We're looking forward to honoring the players throughout the state that have played here and been the heroes of the past and created the tradition of The University of Texas, the finest baseball program in the history of college baseball."

The stadium renovation plan is not finalized, although it is conceptualized. Dodds said an architect would be picked within the next two weeks and within a couple of months a general contractor would be in place. According to the AD, Garrido will be "very involved in what happens in this process" and "help make decisions on what the priorities are as we move forward."

Along with changes to the stadium facade (a similar look to the football stadium or campus buildings in general, according to Dodds) and improvements to the player facilities, the concept calls for wider concourses and aisles, new seats, three or four new rows around the grandstand near the field as well as bleacher seating down the foul lines (in front of the relocated light stanchions), and some type of contribution-generating seating along the top of the grandstand (suites or club seats).

"I think by the time the architects get through with this, it will look like the Disch but much-improved."

But what about replacing the turf?

"(Adding grass) depends on the architect and how they're looking at it and it depends on finances, what we can do with the money we've allocated to do this project," Dodds said. "It would be my guess that the latest we would go to grass would be when this turf is needing to be replaced. I think what we have to do before we go to grass is build an AstroTurf infield somewhere in the vicinity for practice and camps and those sort of things."

When the renovations are complete in 2008, with or without the natural stuff, Garrido's guys will finally have a baseball stadium worthy of the team that plays in it.

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