The Washington State University Board of Regents didn't give athletic director Bill Moos the greenlight to break ground on a Martin Stadium expansion Friday, but he did get their approval to spend around $5 million to get the work designed and an estimate put together. Read on for more.
• Though I'm sure Moos would have loved getting the approval to just get started, the regents basically asked for more information before they would approve a project that could cost another $65 million or so, even if the money would all come from private sources. So Moos and the athletic department will move forward, hire someone to design the south side facility – one story out there had the sides of the stadium mixed up – and the west end zone football building. That will give Moos something to sell to donors and better-grounded cost estimate to give to the regents. Has today's action changed the timetable? As far as I can tell, no. Design work would have had to come first no matter what. But it might if, after the preliminary work is done, the regents delay approval. That, however, is for down the road. Right now we have this early story.
PULLMAN – The Washington State University Board of Regents gave athletic director Bill Moos the go-ahead Friday morning to move forward on the Martin Stadium remodeling project.
The board approved a motion allowing the athletic department to begin the design stages of the project, with the goal of pinning down the overall cost numbers.
The project, as currently presented, would include the addition of premium seating, luxury suites and a new press box on the south side of the stadium along with a football-only complex in the west end zone area.
"This allows us to shore up what the numbers will be for the project," Moos said after the Richland vote, "and whether we need to trim it back or step up our fund-raising and all of that.
"It allows us in a rapid pace to secure a design team that can lay these things out for us, get us some renderings for our fund-raising efforts, but also pin down some realistic estimates."
Moos said the $70 million estimate the department was using headed into the meeting included information from an earlier version of the remodel and conversations with companies that had constructed comparable end zone football-only facilities.
WSU began fund-raising for what was then-termed Phase III two years ago under former athletic director Jim Sterk. The plan at the time was limited to a $33 million expansion looming over the north-side stands.
About $17 million in donations and pledges has been raised for the project since its inception.
Late last year Moos unveiled his renovated vision for the 35,117-seat stadium, moving the donor seating to the south side where it would replace and enhance the more than 30-year-old current press and booster seating area.
Moos also announced at the time the plan for a football operations building that would hold "all aspects of the football program" including locker, weights, equipment and meeting rooms along with the coaches' offices.
"This project is at the very core of our plans to move Cougar athletic forward," Moos said Friday. "It has the potential to develop revenue streams that will be helpful for all of our programs. It also will be a tremendous asset in our efforts to recruit the very best talent in the country."
With the regents' approval in hand, Moos said the design phase, costing about $5 million, will move forward immediately. After it is completed, the regents would then consider the expansion plans before construction can begin.
Moos is still hopeful construction can begin at the end of this football season on what should be a 35,000 to 40,000-seat remodeled stadium.
Fund-raising is still on-going, though Moos has said the cost can be financed through bond issues, which would then be repaid through donations and seating revenue.
Moos said the goal is to have south side remodel mostly done for the start of 2012 season and the approximately 100,000-square-foot football facility by the next summer.
• That's it for now. We'll be back later if events warrant. Until then ...