By Shelby Brown–
The U of L Athletic Association Board of Directors discussed facility improvements in the April 27 finance meeting. Though some improvements won’t complete until 2019, plans are ready. Interim President Greg Postel called the recommendations “cost neutral” to the university.
Jim Patterson Baseball Stadium expansion
The board plans a $9.5 million renovation to Jim Patterson Baseball Stadium, noting baseball’s popularity. The plan yields 2600 seats, additional restrooms, locker rooms and concession facilities. Funding, expected in cash, pledges and annual sponsorships needs approval before construction can start.
Construction of Balconies at Cardinal Arena
The board recommended adding balconies to the north and south end walls of Cardinal Arena, increasing seating by 188. The $450,000 project is funded by the “Next Step” cardinal athletic fund campaign.” Construction begins immediately and will complete by fall 2017.
Replace Field Turf Field- Lacrosse and Trager Indoor
Worn out turn for Field-Lacrosse and Trager Indoor stadium will be replaced, costing $650,000.
Athletics’ Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Miller said replacing both fields simultaneously saves money. The project is funded by a concert at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and funds leftover at the end of the year.
Video Wall and Ribbon Board upgrade at PJCS; a line scoring display at Patterson Stadium, and a new outdoor video display at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center
An estimated $2 million in donations and pledges will go to replacing PJCS’ dated technology. Renovation of the north end zone’s video board is currently underway. Funds could possibly update the north end zone’s sound system and the south end zone’s video wall as well.
The budget is expected to cover the expenses for Jim Patterson Stadium and Bass-Rudd Stadium
Construction of Athletic Television Production Studio
With an ACC Network launching in 2019, the board recommended installing a production studio. Athletics says the $8 million project would create “significant exposure and revenue opportunities” and support the athletic department.
At 6,000 – 8,000 square feet, the space would house three video control rooms, editing rooms and studio space. Athletics expects revenue from the ACC network to fund the project, but are ready to take a loan for other expenses.
Construction of soccer practice facility at Churchill Park
The board recommended approving the ground lease to build a soccer practice facility at Churchill Park. Athletics outlined a ten year plan costing upwards of two million dollars. Though the project is delayed, the department intends to make payments from their annual budget and has borrowed $15 million.
Regular ULAA Meeting
In accordance with ULAA bylaws, Postel was named Finance and Budget Committee Chair. Postel went on to mention several vacancies on the ULAA board. One glaring absence being Papa John’s founder, John Schnatter, who resigned abruptly this week.
The board reviewed Athletics’ 15 audits and reviews for the past year. Athletics Director Tom Jurich defended the program.
“Fifteen audits, that’s a normal year for us,” Jurich said. “We’re an easy target. We’re going to continue to put our nose to the grindstone and we’re going to continue to grow.”
The ULAA will reconvene again in June.