UA set to push for $160 million Razorback football stadium expansion

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 331 views 

Artist rendering of planned expansion of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback football stadium on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.

The University of Arkansas Department of Athletics is moving forward with a $160 million push for a renovation of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback football Stadium that will include significant additions in the north end zone and will likely be paid for in part by higher ticket prices.

Department officials plan to make the request this week when the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees meet. The expansion project will include a north addition, updates to existing areas, and a new Broyles Athletic Center. The last major Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium renovation was completed in time for the 2001 season, according to the UA.

The statement issued Monday (Jan. 25) by the UA said the request also will include approval to pursue commitments for capital pledges and donations, especially with respect to new suites, club seats and other sponsored or reserved areas. If approved, UA athletic officials will return to the Board of Trustees with an update on commitments made for capital contributions and ticket sales, along with an “intent resolution” for the bonding requirements for completing the project.

“After analyzing extensive information produced as part of our feasibility study and gathering feedback from our donors and fans, we are ready to move forward with the next step in a major renovation at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said in the statement. “The Razorbacks are the tie that binds our state together. Our fans are loyal and passionate and we want to provide them an on-campus stadium as distinctive as the Razorback itself. We want to complete the full connection of the stadium, from the north to the south and from the east to the west, while further enhancing one of the nation’s finest facilities. We have heard from our fans that they want seating options and amenities available at varying price levels, to meet the evolving demands of the Razorback fan base. We are prepared and ready to initiate the process for a full design and cost estimate, contingent on approval from the Board of Trustees.”

KEY EXPANSION, UPDATE AREAS
Following are some of the expansion details as provided by the UA.
• North end zone
The north addition will include new suites, loge boxes, club seats, and club areas. The east and west concourses will connect to allow flow of patrons around the stadium, as well as provide new concessions and restrooms. Additional and expanded entrances will improve patron flow. A new gameday locker room, training room, and pre/post game support rooms will be added for the football team.

• Stadium updates
New elevators will be installed at the northeast and northwest corners to service the existing east and west suites, club areas, and upper level seating. Existing suites and club areas will be renovated and updated. A new video board will be added at the south end of the stadium. Security and safety systems will be enhanced.

• Frank Broyles Athletic Center
The Broyles Center will be affected by the larger north end zone project, and will be rebuilt in the new north end. The Broyles Center will still house the administrative offices, along with space that can be used for ticketing, merchandise, and Razorback history and traditions.


FUNDING, PROJECT HISTORY
This project will be funded entirely by athletics revenues, capital gifts, and bond proceeds from a future bond issue. Season ticket and single game ticket price adjustments will also be implemented. Bonds will be amortized using athletic revenues generated from the stadium. No university funds will be required to complete this project.

In 2009, the UA hired consultants to develop a facilities master plan for Razorback Athletics. Included in the master plan was a general concept and program for the expansion of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium at the north end.

In 2013, the UA brought together a project team to further study the feasibility of a north end zone expansion, additional updates needed within the stadium, along with a market study for the demand of different types of seating and amenities at home football games. The project team has included Populous (architect), Polk Stanley Wilcox (architect), CSL (feasibility study), Legends (cost estimator and sales consultant), and Facilities Management.