Facilities project vote delayed until September

Grant Donald

The University of Minnesota athletics department’s plan for building new facilities is being delayed.
 
The Board of Regents won’t vote on the facilities plan until its September meeting. The original vote was planned to take place next week in advance of a proposed groundbreaking date in August. Now, construction will start later.
 
Senior associate athletics director for strategic communications Chris Werle said the main reason for the delay is that the department is trying to solidify the location of a new track and field facility.
 
The current track and field facility behind Bierman Field Athletic Building will be removed when the plan moves forward and the proposed buildings for football and basketball, as well as a center for academics and health needs, are constructed.
 
“We respect the Board of Regents, so we want to present them with a concrete plan,” Werle said. “We want to make sure we have the best solution for a competition-level track before we ask them to vote on this.”
 
The University of Minnesota has raised $70 million of the $150 million necessary to complete the project. 
 
Werle said the delay has nothing to do with fundraising.
 
Despite the new schedule, Werle said the target date for the facilities’ opening won’t change.
 
And although the delay might affect coaches who have been communicating with recruits about the facilities, Werle said coaches have been receptive of the new schedule.
 
“They understand,” Werle said. “The coaches understand that if we are going to do this, we need to do it right, and we need to do it [carefully.]”