Teague: Facilities plan could cost up to $125M

Andrew Krammer

Norwood Teague runs one of the only Big Ten athletics departments that still need annual appropriations from its university to break even.

The first-year University of Minnesota athletics director said Thursday at a press conference that his master facilities plan, which will be unveiled in mid-April, reflects that.

“We’ve traveled around to a lot of facilities that are maybe a little over the top,” Teague said. “I don’t know if we need to do that.”

One of Teague’s first orders when he took the job in June was to implement a facilities plan – a way to reprioritize and fulfill the Gophers’ facility needs.

A primary need, echoed by coach Tubby Smith, is a men’s basketball practice facility, Teague said.

Five Big Ten schools — Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska and Purdue — have added one since 2010, and Ohio State plans to open its $13.7 million practice facility in June. Nebraska’s Hendricks Training Complex cost $18.7 million when it was built two years ago.

“That’s not a want. That’s a need,” Teague said about a practice facility at Minnesota. “It’ll happen. It’s just a matter of when.”

Teague said his administration is in the “back third” of finalizing the facilities plan, but one of the most important variables — funding — is still unsolved.

“The money to raise is out there,” Teague said. “Mid-April we can solidify everything. Then we’d like to go around the state, already have a caravan planned, tour planned to unveil that. [We’ll] really go around and shake hands, renew and rejuvenate pride of Gophers athletics.”

Money is tight at Minnesota, and the Gophers’ near-$80 million budget is on the low end of Teague’s estimates of the plan’s cost. Teague said the Gophers are looking to spend “in the realm” of $80 to $125 million.

But Teague said that there is a lot of evaluating left to do, adding that “we don’t want to go crazy and spend in a way that’s going to be unwise.”

“The next month is going to be key in bringing that all together,” Teague said.

Minnesota recently completed a $1 million renovation to its Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex, including a remodeling of the football locker room that was not part of this facilities plan.

Williams Arena is on the list, but Teague was adamant about remodeling the near 90-year-old arena instead of replacing it.

“I’ve seen, when you move arenas and leave your classic place, it hurts in many ways,” Teague said. “We’ll do some touch-ups, but I don’t think we’ll need to blow up the inner bowl.”

“It’s too classic, too historical, too much a part of the state,” Teague said.