Board of Regents approves $142 million plan for athletics facilities upgrades

Published: Dec. 4, 2013

The University of Colorado Board of Regents voted 9-0 Wednesday in favor of a $142 million plan to upgrade facilities for intercollegiate athletics at CU-Boulder.

The plan, presented in a multi-media format to the board by CU athletic director Rick George, has six major features:

  • Add an indoor multipurpose practice facility (football field/300 meter track), whose location is to be determined. The proposed site is on Franklin Field, just east of Folsom Field’s east side. The indoor facility also would be used for tailgating on game day;
  • Refurbish the Dal Ward Athletics Center, which was completed in 1991, to include an Olympic sports strength training room in the sub-basement level and new locker rooms and equipment room on the field level.
  • Redesign Dal Ward’s first floor for the expansion of Olympic sports/sports medicine, a leadership development center and an end zone club with club seating and loge boxes;
  • Transform the second floor of Dal Ward to increase the athletic department’s academic support system from its current 5,115 square feet to 17,200 square feet. The training table will remain on the second floor;
  • Add a 21,900-square foot high-performance sports center on the northeast corner of the stadium, as well as a rooftop terrace on the northeast corner, converting the south offices at Folsom Field to retail space. The rooftop terrace will generate revenue by being rentable for non-game-day events. The high-performance sports center will host collaborative research conducted by faculty at CU-Boulder in Integrative Physiology and researchers at the Anschutz Medical Campus;
  • Also proposed for the third floor of the sports performance center are team meeting rooms. Coaches’ offices and athletic administration offices will move from their current locations at Folsom Field’s “gates” to the suite level (fourth) on Folsom’s east side.

George was enthusiastic in presenting the plan, saying, “It will allow us to create a world-class, holistic student-athlete experience. It will allow us to compete for and win championships, and it will allow us to become fiscally responsible.”

Most of the regents expressed enthusiasm for the project, for George’s precise vision, and for the multi-media presentation.

Regent Steve Bosley called George’s proposal “a well-thought out business plan” that represents a large and potentially lucrative investment for the campus, city of Boulder and state.”

Regent Stephen Ludwig, who praised the soundness of the business plan George presented, said he was nonetheless concerned the spending would encourage an athletics “arms race” and wondered whether its focus on attracting new recruits was a matter of providing “shiny objects for 17-year-olds.”

Regent Jim Geddes wanted a stronger commitment from the CU-Boulder campus to directly subsidize the vision with general fund dollars.

“I am concerned that there is still uncertainty about when this project should begin, and I think this uncertainty should be removed immediately,” Geddes said.

CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano said that he had hired CU AD Rick George precisely because of George’s ability to raise money and manage it. He said he wanted to see the AD spearhead the project with private donations matched with debt supported by ticket sales for its funding.

“I’m convinced he is going to do that . . .  with corporate funding, with other revenues, with monetizing that south end (of the stadium). I want to see AD George keep his commitment to raise the money for this new athletic facility. I think that’s the way we should operate,” DiStefano said.

The board agreed and the plan passed 9-0. reporter B.G. Brooks contributed to this report.