Clemson announces $50 million plan to continue athletic facility improvements
CLEMSON — Clemson University’s athletic department is continuing its plan to improve facilities by announcing a goal to invest $50 million over the next five years in capital projects. The master plan includes enhancements to facilities for football, baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis and golf.
The projects, many of which are pending board of trustee and state approval, will be funded through private gifts and generated athletics revenues. A committee led by Ed and Jane Duckworth of Atlanta will study the plan and implement a funding strategy. All gifts in support of these initiatives will be included in The Will to Lead capital campaign.
“This plan is a continuation of what Clemson started in 2003 with the WestZone project to enhance our football stadium and build a first-class operational center for our football program,” said Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips. “We must develop facilities to allow us to continue to put our student-athletes in an environment where they can become as good as they possibly can be and also to increase our ability to recruit top student-athletes.”
“Over the past 10 years, Clemson has invested nearly $120 million in athletics facilities enhancements. These investments have benefited virtually every team, from football to women’s volleyball, from baseball to track, from golf to women’s rowing,” said President James F. Barker. “The next phase of improvements will be equally comprehensive in scope. Just as importantly — speaking as a president and architect — they will also improve pedestrian safety and visually enhance one of America’s most beautiful campuses.”
Facility improvements for football will include building an indoor practice facility and finishing the WestZone project.
The indoor practice facility, which will be located where the current practice fields are, will feature a regulation-size artificial turf football field, a coach’s tower and video platforms. The building will have large garage-style doors, which can be raised to create an open-air space. The estimated cost of the project is $10 million.
“The indoor practice facility will be a highly significant addition for Clemson, not only for football but also for other sports to use,” Phillips said.
The $15.3 million WestZone project will feature the oculus, which is the main entrance to the WestZone, a four-level museum and an expansion of the northwest concourse. Construction on the northwest concourse expansion is slated to begin soon and will be completed by the start of the 2011 season.
A baseball players’ facility will be added to Doug Kingsmore Stadium behind the first-base side seating. This building will include a “Lobby of Legacy” where trophies and other achievements can be highlighted, a locker room, a players’ lounge, study areas and meeting space, suite and club level seating for fans, a training room, laundry and kitchen facilities and coaches’ offices. Estimated cost for the project is $5 million.
An additional practice facility will be built at the southwest corner of Littlejohn Coliseum. It will include a new practice floor and a multi-purpose room. On the southeast corner of Littlejohn, an open-air pavilion will be built that can be used for events such as concerts and private parties. Total cost for the project is estimated at $5.1 million.
Additional renovations to historic Riggs Field include creating a “Championship Plaza” behind the stands, landscaping and improving the stadium entrance, building a multi-purpose room under the stands, adding seating behind the goal, enclosing the area underneath the visiting side stands and a new scoreboard. This projected cost is $6.1 million.
Improvements to tennis facilities will include adding two new indoor courts, landscaping and enhancing both entrances to the outdoor courts, adding new fan seating and building a roof to cover all seating. These enhancements will cost approximately $5.1 million.
Although not directly connected to athletics, a new pedestrian bridge planned for construction along S.C. 93 will further enhance the entrances to both Riggs Field and the tennis facility and will provide safer access for fans to both areas. The project is a collaboration with the city of Clemson, which partnered with the university to secure $800,000 of federal funding for the project, and the Pickens County Transportation Committee, which contributed another $200,000 in local matching funds.
Also included in the plan is the Larry B. Penley Jr. Golf Facility, which is already under construction. The structure will be a three-story, 6,600-square-foot building that will include meeting rooms, offices, a repair shop, a service kitchen and locker rooms. It will be located behind the golf team’s driving range at the Bobby Robinson Golf Practice Facility. Estimated cost for the building is $2.6 million.
“With athletic facilities, you’re never finished,” Phillips said. “You always have to be planning ahead to improve your facility infrastructure. We feel very good about everything we’ve accomplished so far, but we must keep going.”