Five things we learned about Nebraska's new football facility on Friday
Here are five things we learned about Nebraska's new $155 million football facility announced on Friday.
1. The key numbers
Here's what you need to know about Nebraska's new football facility in terms of key numbers. The three-story complex itself will be 350,000 square feet and cost $155 million to build. When NU built the Tom and Nancy Osborne Complex in 2004, the price tag on that facility was $50 million.
Construction on the complex will not begin until after the spring sports season concludes in 2020, and it won't be open for usage until 2022.
2. This project is just the beginning
There is a lot more in store down the road. NU has plans for upgrades in golf, swimming, track and to South Stadium in future phases. None of that can be announced though until it hits a Board of Regents meeting agenda.
Chancellor Ronnie Green told me all of this will be addressed at a later time, but they plan to still have the track named after NU Hall-of-Famer Ed Weir when it's relocated to Innovation Campus.
"We certainly will honor the Weir family," Green said. "Ed Weir was just inducted into our Hall-of-Fame as you know last month. Now we are going to have the opportunity to locate the track on Innovation Campus on the very west side between the Ice Box and the highway just north of Devaney. That facility will be rebuilt and it will give us additional capacity both in tack and soccer, and we will continue to honor the Weir family. You'll hear more about that down the road."
3. What happens to North and West Stadium in the future?
With football moving out of North Stadium and the student life center and training table moving out of West Stadium, there is a lot of square footage NU will be able to put to good use in future years.
The new football complex will connect to North Stadium, and more amenities will be added, including escalators to get people to and from their seats.
As for the current football coaches offices, those will be converted to space for NU's different media departments, including Husker Vision. They want all of their media properties located in the same place.
There will also be major expansion to the athletic medicine space in North Stadium, as NU has outgrown this space and that needs a big overhaul.
In West Stadium, there are plans for where the current training table and student life center sits. The training table kitchen will be converted into a culinary space in the stadium, which they currently do not have. The student life center will be converted into additional club amenities to entertain boosters on game day.
4. When did this become a reality?
Nebraska's Matt Davison said this has been a talking point and discussion for two years at Nebraska, well before the hiring of Scott Frost.
Davison said when Bill Moos was first hired, he mentioned this idea to him and how much it was needed. It was even brought up to Frost on the phone before he took the job.
As for becoming a reality, Davison said that took some time.
"I felt pretty good it was going to happen a couple of months ago probably," Davison said. "We have to raise a lot of money. So far the response has been very good. I've met with many of our donors, and everybody is excited about the project. I feel better today than I did two weeks ago, and better than I did a month ago.
"This was something two years ago though I met with Bill and pitched him the idea and said 'what do you think about this?' Then Scott took the job, and I told Scott about it before he took the job. I said 'hey, we should do this someday.' Right now was the time.
"We have momentum and we have the right coach. I give Scott a ton of credit because when he said yes to this, he thought big. It goes back to his vision and what he wants. He said if we are going to do it, we are going to do it right because that's how he is. He loves Nebraska, and he's going to be here a long, long time, so he wants this building to stand the test of time."
5. Bounds will have a big role in this
Something else we learned this week is former University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds will be heavily involved in this project.
Bounds has been brought in to be a fundraiser for the Foundation, as NU must raise $100 million on their own, and they've already been able to bring in $35 to $40 million of private gifts through the leadership of Bounds.
"His leadership a few months ago kept this thing going," Davison of Bounds. "His leadership helping us meet with the Regents and then transitioning into the philanthropy piece of it. Hank has been a huge piece of this whole thing. I give (current President) Susan Fritz a ton of credit for keeping Hank on in this role to help us with the project."