October 13, 2010 in Sports

Bill Moos’ plans include football facility

WSU athletic director says it is key to football success
By The Spokesman-Review
Jesse Tinsley photo

Bill Moos has grand plans for a football facility at WSU.
(Full-size photo)

PULLMAN – Bill Moos has been in his athletic director position at Washington State University for less than a year, but that hasn’t stopped him from dreaming big.

In fact, he has a vision of a Pullman utopia.

“In a perfect world, we would expand the stadium, renovate it and build the football facility all at the same time,” Moos said Tuesday in his office just a long pass from Martin Stadium, the Cougars’ football home.

Yet Moos, who has been an athletic director off-and-on for 18 years, also is a realist.

“That could be cost prohibitive,” Moos said. “We’re still exploring that.”

Still, he’s a realist with a plan, even if that plan is different than the one he inherited when he took over in February.

“We need to address facilities on our campus that are going to attract top talent,” Moos said. “It’s been my experience that is the formula that works best to build a solid program.”

That’s why Moos and the WSU athletic department has shifted gears and is moving forward with a football-only facility as a companion to the on-going Martin Stadium Phase III development.

The idea melds the previously announced Phase III expansion – luxury boxes, covered and uncovered upgraded seating – with a more comprehensive, football-only facility in the 100,000 square-foot range that would include a new locker room, weight room, equipment storage, meeting areas and a training room.

“In this go-round, ideally, I would love to see the football building, the Phase III in one regard or another, adding suites, loge seats and not necessarily taking our capacity maybe more than 40,000,” Moos said.

But perfection costs money, and the proposed football facility could be anywhere from the $30 to $40 million range. The final cost of such a facility is undetermined, mainly due to a large variance depending on where it is located.

Proposed footprints include the south side of Martin Stadium, which seats 35,000 currently, the smallest venue in the Pac-10, the west end zone area or a still to-be-determined landing spot. Such decisions require conversations and approval of the WSU administration.

If the football facility were incorporated into the revamped Phase III, the cost of both projects together would be less than if they were built separately. The cost of Phase III, designed for the north side of Martin Stadium and including 2,200 premium seats, was originally estimated at $40 million, but that fell to $33 million as construction costs declined in the past year.

“One has to understand, in these difficult economic times, granted it’s difficult for some people to come up with the means to support a project like this,” Moos said, “(but) there hasn’t been and probably won’t be a more ideal time to go into construction with the costs of building what they are now.”

Washington State has been raising money for the Phase III project for more than a year and has somewhere in the neighborhood of $17 million committed.

“It is my opinion, much of the money that was raised was conditional on receiving something in return,” including seating or the use of a luxury box, Moos said. “And certainly I need, and want, to be sensitive to that. And that get’s back to ideally, folding the two projects together.”

But Moos believes the football-only facility is the key to continued success on the field, citing Oregon, where he was previously athletic director, and Oregon State, among others, as examples of schools that used the same formula.

“We are lagging behind our Pac-12 brethren in many regards in the area of facilities,” Moos said. “Years back, those weren’t big things. Today they are. Young people want to participate in a program where they know they can reach their potential.”

Part of meeting that is location and personnel, Moos said, and WSU has those components.

“But we need to step our game with facilities,” he said, to be successful on the field.

And success on the field, Moos believes, builds a demand for more seating – and keeps the Cougars’ fans happy.

“I have had the opportunity to talk with several of the major Phase III donors, members of the steering committee, although not all of them, and have gotten a positive response,” Moos said. “I think Cougars in general want to see us succeed competitively.”

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