College Venue News: In Six Months, TCU Raises $105M for New Stadium

Raising money, in a historically down economy, for a football stadium — don’t doubt that TCU can accomplish it. The Horned Frogs, in the midst of their greatest run in the sport in several decades, are set immediately after this season to begin a $105 million project: a new football stadium. It took just six months for the small private school to raise the funds from about three dozen donors. Yes, history repeats itself. “The situation is eerily similar [to the effort that built Amon G. Carter Stadium during the Great Depression],” said Athletic Director Chris Del Conte, who has been on the job about a year since arriving from Rice University. “We had seed money, we had a concept, but we hadn’t raised money in earnest. Nothing was up to date, nothing was modern. So you start to look at all of these things we were going to have to repair, do, to make it modern on so many levels”…

…The University of Maine announced this week an unprecedented $5.5 million gift from the Harold Alfond Foundation to renovate its historic field house and hockey rink. The gift is the largest in school history to UMaine athletics, and it includes a $2 million challenge grant for renovations to Memorial Gym and Fieldhouse and $3.5 million for renovations to Alfond Arena. “This is such a huge lift because it sends a message to other donors that this is a project that’s worth it to be a part of,” said Steve Abbott, Maine’s interim athletic director. “People are well aware of the work of Harold Alfond and the foundation. They insist on excellence in their projects”…

University of New Mexico fans will notice quite a facelift at The Pit. The 44-year-old basketball arena is a little messy from construction, but it looks fabulous after a nearly two-year renovation that cost $60 million. From the new suites and club seating to massive video boards and new locker rooms, it’s as modern as any site in the country. “Really, it’s finishing work,” said Senior Associate Athletic Director Tim Cass, who steered the project. “It’s touchup paint, some flooring, some carpeting. On the outside, we need some landscaping. This pavement we’re standing on just went in yesterday. But the majority is complete”…

…Florida Atlantic University officials, including head football coach Howard Schnellenberger, will break ground on a long-awaited $69.8 million stadium this week. The new perch for the FAU Owls will eventually hold up to 30,000 fans. It’s a quick transition for FAU, which played its first game in 2001 and has played in both Sun Life Stadium and Lockhart Stadium as its home field. The school will secure financing for $44.585 million and spend another $20.3 million from university reserves, and $4.9 million will be contributed to other projects. The stadium will cost roughly $2,300 per seat…

…Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler University’s retro-cool gymnasium where the film Hoosiers was shot, is due for a makeover, according to Athletics Director Barry Collier. But he promises changes will be subtle. Hinkle, originally named Butler Fieldhouse, has been home to the Bulldogs since 1928. Collier is fundraising to change Hinkle’s mid-level seating from bleachers to chair-back seats. “We’re in the early stages of a campaign to do that,” he says. Currently, only the lower section of Hinkle Fieldhouse has chair-back seats. Those were added in 1989…

…The $59.6 million stadium under construction at Allen High School in Allen, TX, may be state of the art, but it will not offer deluxe seating. After surveying season-ticket holders, the Allen Independent School District has decided against installing 1,000-2,500 plastic “stadium seats” with arm rests and backs. “We’re going to go with aluminum seats with backs for everybody in the reserved area,” said Tim Carroll, district spokesman. The stadium will seat 18,000. Carroll said 5,000 reserved seats will have aluminum backs, and the rest will be regular bench seats.

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