Take everything you read with a grain of salt, considering the source, but Sid Hartman had some rather direct information regarding plans for the University of Minnesota to break ground on a new $70M practice facility for football this December:
But boosters must be contributing because the Star Tribune has learned that ground will be broken this December on a $70 million football facility that will include not only a modern indoor practice facility but coaching offices and other amenities for the football program.
The new facility is expected to be located in an area behind the Bierman Building, and speculation is that the new outdoor track will be moved to somewhere in St. Paul.
BUT BUT BUT, hooptyball needs it more!!!
The word is there will be a basketball practice facility built in the near future as well, with more facilities to be built as fundraising progresses.
Putting aside Richard Pitino's more pressing and glaring needs, football is the primary revenue generator for nearly every AQ conference athletic department, to which Minnesota is no exception. Jerry Kill doesn't just want, but needs key facilities resources that he simply doesn't have right now, namely: a nutrition center and dedicated football weight room for his players, and a roof that doesn't leak and his tall enough to handle punting/kicking duty during the winter months.
If Hartman's report is accurate, the suspense then turns to which add-ons are projected in the $70M price tag. Back in 2012, Norwood Teague hinted that a new football practice facility, with underground parking, new offices and a dedicated weight room, would cost approximately $50-$60M. Considering that came before Teauge unveiled his Master Facilities Plan, how the costs are split between a tiered construction plan versus stand alone development remain a key question.
There's been plenty of smoke on the Internets regarding the possibility of imminent facilities upgrades, though Sid's report is the first time a media outlet has explicitly stated a new construction will happen. EL SID being EL SID, he was likely tipped off by a close personal friend and let the cat out of the bag, though he's far from the only media figure to more than speculate on these upgrades. This was an innuendo that built steam and is approaching foregone conclusion status, though how exactly the details shake out in the coming year are anyone's guess.
Anyway, FACILITIESMAS may be happening. Teague would be on a short list of best Gopher AD's ever if he can pull this off.
According to other sources, Sid may have jumped the gun (who knows)...
Lou Nanne: "Sid's report is totally irresponsible... Totally incorrect" re: $70m practice facility. "We have no plans to break ground"— Phil Mackey (@PhilMackey) March 27, 2014
The plot thickens...