Construction on-schedule for multiple athletics projects
The University of Arizona campus has undergone some major renovations since the end of the 2018 sports season.
As a part of Dave Heeke’s $66 million Capital Improvement Plan, Arizona Stadium, Hillenbrand Stadium, Hillenbrand Aquatic Center and McKale Center all have begun to undergo major upgrades. The new indoor sports facility next to the Ginny L. Clements Academic Center is the final touch on the project, with the goal being enhancement of the experience for both the fan and the student-athlete.
Indoor Practice Facility
The indoor facility has probably the biggest effect on fans and recruits in the coming years and has been a few years in the making. Former UA football head coach Rich Rodriguez stated in 2017 that an indoor facility was “number one on our priority list.”
Steve Kozachik, associate director of Athletics Facilities and Capital Projects, reiterated how big the facility would be.
“We used to have Camp Cochise in Douglas for the football team and would regularly lose practice days due to the monsoons,” Kozachik said. “Moving indoors will help maximize practice time for not just football but all teams when the weather is too hot or not permitting.”
While the facility is important for the coaches and players, it will also help the fans beat the heat. Tailgating will still take place on the UA Mall, but Kozachik spoke to the benefits of the new space for tailgating.
“We will have roll-up doors that lead directly towards the stadium for fans to access after they tailgate.”
The foundations for the building are being laid currently, with the turf already in place. The project is expected to be completed sometime in December.
Arizona Stadium is seeing $25 million in renovations in an attempt to improve infrastructure, circulation, and fan amenities. The ground level concourse will receive new concession areas and restrooms, with access points on the east and southeast also receiving upgrades.
The largest renovations will come to the Zona Zoo, with the dividing wall between the field and stands lowered for a less obstructed view, along with the addition of two viewing bays.
Both of the viewing bays are receiving the final touches, along with new bleachers for the student section. “It is a more inviting experience,” Kozachik said. “The wall allows for an enhanced view, with the new bleachers being more functional.”
Completion of the first phase of renovations is expected in time for the September 1 season opener against BYU, with a second phase that will include additional concessions, restroom and seating upgrades beginning in January 2019.
When the Ginny L. Clements Academic Center was completed in 2017, it not only provided academic assistance for student-athletes, it allowed for space in the depths of McKale Center to be freed up, paving the way for new locker rooms.
“When the academic center went up, it freed a bunch of space in McKale that allowed us to move the computer lab across the street to that facility,” Kozachik said.
That paved the way for new locker rooms for men’s sports such as golf, soccer and tennis, along with women’s track and field and cross county. Men’s track and field and cross country, along with women’s swimming and diving will also see their locker rooms remodeled as a result of construction.
“They will have upgraded locker facilities and new lounge areas,” Kozachik said. “The new additions will definitely be a big plus in recruiting.”
The project to complete the locker rooms began in late March, with completion on track for August 15.
Hillenbrand Stadium and Aquatic Center
Hillenbrand Stadium renovations began in June of this year, with the press box and seating being upgraded. The budget for the project was $8 million, with finishing touches expected in time for the 2019 softball campaign in January.
These will mark the first renovations for the stadium since 2015, when it saw upgrades to the clubhouse and irrigation systems.
Hillenbrand Aquatic Center is also on track to meet their January schedule with upgrades. The $15 million renovations began in April, with the pool expanding from 50 to 65 meters, along with adding four more 25-yard short-course lanes.
Kozachik said he understands the importance of adhering to the hard deadlines given in meeting these completion dates and will continue to look into future projects to enhance the university.
“We’ll see where we are from a needs and financial standpoint once we cross the finish line.“
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