Camp Randall Renovation Back on Track

With a lead gift of $10 million from the Kellner family, the Camp Randall Stadium renovation project is back on solid ground.

MADISON, Wis. - University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor John Wiley says today's lead gift from the Kellner family, an analysis of the project's scope and costs, and a sound athletic financial plan projecting over the next 20 years, will allow the university to move forward with its renovation plans for Camp Randall Stadium.

The Kellner family - brothers Ted and Jack W., and their families - presented a $10 million gift to the university today (Oct. 16), through the University of Wisconsin Foundation. Of that $10 million, approximately $6 million will go to the Camp Randall Stadium renovation project and $4 million to academic programming, yet-to-be-determined.

"We are grateful to the Kellner family for their generous gift to the university," Wiley says. "Ted, Jack, their father, and families, have been true friends of this great university — not only to athletics, but to business, education and other areas. Their initiative today allows us to put the Camp Randall Stadium project back on track."

The stadium renovation is intended to address safety concerns, failing infrastructure, a need for improved customer service and accessibility issues.

"With this significant lead gift, I am confident that our continuing efforts to generate private support will yield additional contributions," Wiley says.

In February, Wiley and Director of Athletics Pat Richter announced the delay of the project, the cost of which was originally projected at $99.7 million. The delay came after an $11.2 million state-funded stadium infrastructure project, which is included in the overall cost, was already under way. That part of the project is now completed.

Wiley said the decision to delay the project was made after carefully considering the impact of budget setbacks, including increased security costs since Sept. 11, 2001, the elimination of all state funding — $700,000 annually — for Athletics, and a shortfall in project fund-raising efforts, which were adversely impacted by the economic downturn.

In addition, costs associated with the delay drove the overall price tag on the original plan to $103.9 million.

The past eight months have been spent fine-tuning the original renovation plan, securing a lead gift and taking a prudent look at the financial implications of the project, including its potential effect on the financial health of college athletics at UW-Madison.

"We re-examined every facet of the plan, cutting those elements we felt were expendable and searching for new funding sources," Wiley says. "With the generous help of the Kellner family, we are able to move forward today with a revised plan that reduces costs while still making the necessary renovations to the stadium."

The new plan will cost $83.7 million and incorporate many of the same elements as the first plan. However, some adjustments have been made that will bring down costs and better meet consumer demand for luxury suites, club seats and premium seats. Those elements are essential revenue sources for the project.

The project will save about $20.2 million by forgoing plans to renovate the third level on the east side of the stadium, the addition of upper north end-zone seating, the third-level and fifth-level concourses, and the two north end pedestrian ramps. Should additional gift funds be designated, those aspects of the project might be reconsidered for inclusion.

To help achieve about $4.5 million in needed revenue from the sale of suites, and club and premium seats, the university has:

- Reduced the number of suites from 93 to 72, and has obtained commitments for 41 suites at a cost of $49,000 each.

- Replaced the 21 suites with 300 premium club seats at an annual cost of $5,000 each. This change offers additional customer-seating options and will have a positive impact of up to $500,000 a year on the department's financial plan.

- Maintained the number of club seats (644) and sold all of them at a cost of $1,500 each, which does not include the price of a ticket to each game.

The Athletics Department has identified areas within its own budget that will recoup the $700,000 cut in state funding, and will ensure that there are funds left over to address any shortfalls in projected sales of suites, and club and premium seating.

"The Athletic Department is committed to ensuring that the stadium renovation project will succeed as a reliable, self-supporting endeavor of the department; not a single dollar of state general purpose revenue will be used from this point forward," says Wiley.

Once UW-Madison has obtained final Board of Regents and State Building Commission approvals, officials expect construction to begin in spring 2003.

Built in 1917, Camp Randall is the fourth oldest college-owned football complex in the nation. No major stadium structural renovation has been undertaken in 34 years, since an upper deck was added in 1966.

NOTE: To download a high-resolution photograph of the Kellner family, and artist renderings of the stadium visit:

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