Gophers athletics director Norwood Teague presented the first phase of his long-awaited athletics facilities plan — a phase priced at $190 million — Wednesday to the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents.
Teague said the $190 million will be privately funded and will be used to construct several facilities at an expanded Bierman Field complex:
• A men’s and women’s basketball practice facility
• A football complex
• A women’s gymnastics facility
• An Olympic sport indoor practice facility
• An outdoor Olympic sport track
• A wrestling training facility
• An academic center
• A training table
“We need these facilities in order to compete,” Teague said.
All of the facilities would be built in the Bierman Field area on 15th Avenue Southeast, where a football complex is already located. Teague said a 300-spot underground parking facility will also be included.
Teague, who has publicized the plan since becoming AD last summer, said he wants Bierman to be an “athletic village.”
The AD said the goal is to complete the first phase six to eight years after the department launches its fundraising campaign.
"Is it all going to be done in eight years?” Teague said. “I don't know.”
Teague did not say how much money the department has raised so far. He said he hopes he’ll get a handful of lead donors for the project. He also mentioned the possibility of using money the University receives from the Big Ten to help with funding.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler said he believes there are donors willing to give to the athletics program.
“Possibly more than academics,” he said.
Teague didn’t say when each facility would be built, but he said the order could be determined by which receive funding first.
He pointed to athletics facility improvements at Big Ten schools such as Nebraska and Wisconsin when emphasizing the need for this plan.
"We are in the Big Ten,” Kaler said. “We're going to be competitive in the Big Ten across the board."
Teague said the plan has strong approval from the University’s coaches.
“They tear up when they see this,” he said.
In February, Teague estimated the cost of the project to be between $80 million and $120 million, but he said Wednesday that he knew it would cost more than that.
No improvements to Williams Arena are mentioned in phase one. Teague said upgrades to the facility’s concourse area are a possibility for phase two of the plan.
A practice facility has long been discussed as one of the major restraints for the Gophers men’s basketball program, especially in recruiting.
Teague said the potential basketball facilities will be a “shot in the arm” for women’s basketball coach Pam Borton and men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino.
Teague said the facilities listed in phase one were of the highest priority.
"These are not just wants,” he said. “We need this."