November 27, 2013

Plans for expanding PJCS discussed

By: Cassie Glancy

The conference schedule is not the only upgrade that could be in store for the 10-1 football team with the move to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). U of L Athletic Director Tom Jurich met with the Board of Trustees on Nov. 21 and discussed potential plans for expanding the 55,000-seat Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

The stadium was last expanded in 2010 with the addition of the Flight Deck, which increased capacity from 42,000 to the current 55,000.

“We are looking into it. Right now what we are doing is a feasibility study to see if it makes a lot of sense,” said Jurich. “We would like to but we want to make sure the feasibility study comes back and says that it is something that we can afford and makes sense for us.”

He does not have any details on the potential construction plans. According to WDRB, the plans could be to close the gap at the north end of the stadium and to add more seats.

“We are so early in on the situation. We don’t know what we can handle, how many seats we can sell because I don’t want to put up a big project and not have enough people,”  said Jurich.

Since Jurich was hired in 1997, he has helped bring in millions of dollars for U of L by changing to conferences with better teams. He has moved U of L from Conference USA, to the Big East/American Athletic Conference, and finally to the ACC in July 2014.

“After last year you couldn’t be more proud of the group of athletes. With the recognition that they brought on for this institution is unbelievable, it’s unparalleled in this country. To have the kind of record breaking year that they had last year, which is now called ‘The Year of the Cardinal’ all that credit goes to the student athletes”.

Jurich has deep roots with the University and is not shaken by the one loss of the football team.  “I am so proud that I get a chance to be amongst them (U of L athletes) at all times and I am so proud that all four of my children were students here.”

Jurich said during the meeting that he has plans to build a terrace for people to congregate at the stadium and also a major academic center. Marvin Mitchell, senior associate athletic director for student services and diversity talked about the goals and trials that he set for the sports teams.

“For the last three or four years we have been above a 3.0 (GPA),” said Mitchell.  “It is something we really strive for, our kids work hard, it’s a sense a pride for all of our student athletes. But we are not satisfied because it is not a 4.0 so we challenge ourselves and our kids to do better. ”

At the Nov. 21 meeting, the Board of Trustees also named the newest research building on the Health Sciences Campus the Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research Building. The building was named to honor Kosair Charities for their years of support to the University of Louisville. In the past, Kosair has given U of L more than $42.5 million to aid programs.

The division of surgery also is upgraded by implementing a Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery.

The Trustees also approved a 2014 audit plan. They also recognized Suzanne Ildstad, who directs the Institute for Cellular Therapeutics and specialized in organ transplant and surgery, for her work to aid transplant patients. Trustees were given updates of four companies that were started by research innovations at the university and recognized Mayor Greg Fischer for his work and for also being featured in Governing magazine as one of its Public Officials of the Year.

The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2014.

Photo by: Austin Lassell

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