The state of IU athletics: facilities Finishing football stadium work tops to-do list currently.
This is the final segment in a six-part series from an interview with Indiana University athletic director Fred Glass about the state of Indiana University athletics.
BLOOMINGTON – The facility arms race remains alive and well in college athletics, and Indiana athletic director Fred Glass has no intention of losing it.
Yes, that includes a 21st Century golf course.
While Glass’s budget of $88 million is about half of Big Ten superpowers Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, he’s pushed a facility upgrade pace designed to keep the Hoosiers nationally competitive.
Spending the three-quarters-of-a-billion dollars needed to build a new basketball arena wasn’t going to work, but investing $40 million to update Assembly Hall did.
In recent years basketball has added Cook Hall, baseball has its new Bart Kaufman Field, softball has its new Andy Mohr Field, and football completed its North End Zone project at Memorial Stadium.
Now comes the $53 million South End Zone project to finish Memorial Stadium. It will house the new Excellence Academy, which Glass has called “the most comprehensive and innovative student-athlete development program in the country.”
The addition will provide space for an institute for sports science and medicine, and a center for elite athlete development that will apply research directly to athletes. There will be areas for visual acuity training, rehab and treatment, leadership, nutrition, and an overall wellness center that will utilize trainers, doctors, psychologists and nutritionists.
There also will be improvements to seating and restrooms, plus a new scoreboard.
Glass addressed that, and more, while meeting with The News-Sentinel last week for an annual assessment of the state of the athletic program. <br>
<center> WHEN WILL THE MEMORIAL STADIUM PROJECT BE DONE? </center><br>
We’re in the demolition phase now. We’ll work on it through the next football season, so it will be open after that. That would be the summer of 2018. The important part of that building is what will go on inside. It’s all dedicated to student athlete development – nutrition, health and wellness, leadership and life skills. It’s all student-athlete programming.
The fact we’re able to tuck it in the south end zone will create a bowl which will increase the sound level, which will increase the excitement level. It will be a brand new front door facing the campus and be a big shot in the arm to our football program. <br>
<center> IS THERE ANY UPDATE ON THE WRESTLING-VOLLEYBALL PROJECT? </center><br>
The next thing after the South End Zone is the new arena and bringing that on campus. It would be a competition venue for volleyball and wrestling. It would also serve as a multi-use facility to relieve some of the demand on Mellencamp Pavilion, particularly in the winter months. It’s a very important facility. My hope is that we would break ground as early as this calendar year. I think that is probably what would happen. It would take 12 to 18 months to build. We’re sort of using the Bicentennial in 2020 as an impetus to get some of these facilities done.
Just to provide some context, since I got here in 2009, we’ve opened about $125 million worth of new facilities. If we complete our bicentennial plan, we’ll add about $135 million in new facilities. I didn’t go to Purdue and I’m not very good at math, but even I can tell you that that’s over a quarter of a billion dollars of facility investment in roughly a decade, which I think is fairly extraordinary. In my view, it’s necessary because we have fallen behind in terms of what our competitors are doing.
If we’re able to get that done by 2020, then I think we’ve really set the table that our facilities are largely in place, and we can start making investments in other things. We’ll have a base upon which we can’t be out-recruited on a basis of facilities. I think that will be a big step forward.
That includes the golf course. Our fund raising is in place enough that we are in the process of selecting an architect. The rebuilding of the golf course will go forward. We’re going to be very focused on doing something that is financially sustainable and environmentally sustainable. We want it to be the greenest golf course in the country in terms of water usage and being environmentally friendly. We also want it to be accessible so our faculty and students can continue to use it at an affordable rate.
While it’s a few rungs below hanging a sixth national championship banner at Assembly Hall, this will be a significant accomplishment because for decades the golf course has been a bit of a conundrum. I think we’ll be able to break out of that with an 18-hole, championship course supported by a quality clubhouse and have a course that is worthy of the IU brand.
<center> AND THIS WILL BE ON THE SAME LOCATION AS THE EXISTING COURSE? </center><br>
Yes, the same location. The same general footprint. <br>
<center> WILL IT BE GOOD ENOUGH TO HOST THE BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP? </center><br>
Yes. We would immediately become of one of the highest-quality golf courses in the Big Ten. The great thing is it would be as close or closer to campus than almost any course in the conference. It will be a real step forward, and also a great thing for the community. I’m excited that it will become a reality. <br>
<center> ARE THERE ANY PLANS TO UPGRADE THE TENNIS FACILITY? </center><br>
We own the outdoor courts, but the indoor courts are controlled by the Division of Recreational Sports, which is within the School of Public Health. We have a great relationship with them, but it just complicates things when you’re talking about a major capital investment. I think we do need to make that investment. <br>
<center><br> ANY PROGRESS IN RENOVATING SOCCER’S ARMSTRONG STADIUM? </center><br>
The next thing would be the renovation of Armstrong Stadium. There’s not a huge update on that other than that needs to happen. That’s what we’re trying to get done before the Bicentennial.
The golf course has really moved on substantially. We have a major donor that has enabled us to move forward with the design process. We’re very confident we’ll be able to raise the rest of the money. That’s going to happen.
Right now the renovation of Armstrong Stadium is unfunded. We are trying to complete a preliminary design and cost estimation. I’m optimistic we’ll be able to raise that money and get that done. We’re not there yet.
The other two major investments that would need to come next would be the tennis center and the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatics center. Both of those would require cooperation with the Rec Center because they are our landlord, essentially, in those two buildings. <br>
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