A week ago today, our Dave White posted an article here about things a-happenin' regarding basketball facilities. The news was apparently very gloomy about hoops and facility upgrades. But things were percolating.
And then a white knight was apparently on the scene in the form of Rutgers alum and MBB season ticket holder, state Senator Ray Lesniak. And he wasn't happy about the state of things on the hardwood in Piscataway. He called out University President Robert Barchi on not being B1G enough in terms of supporting the program.
It seemed nothing was happening until, as reported by Keith Sargeant, Robert Barchi wrote back to Lesniak.
So, where are we today?
Barchi made several points in his letter, a letter obtained through "a university Board of Trustees source" (can anyone in the school keep anything confidential!?).
Lesniak said the project could be done for $30 million. Barchi responded: "Our preliminary analysis leads us to the conclusion that the actual cost for appropriate renovations and improvements would be many times higher than that figure.... Again, all indications at this point lead our facilities planners to the conclusion that $30 million is a mere fraction of the total cost and is not a reasonable estimate."
Well, that's a point of contention for me. And it's a major concern in my mind. Each man is talking about something, but is it the same thing?
While $30M price tag seems ambitious Barchi's "many times higher'' statement would indicate it's either $60M or $90M. http://t.co/iMt5YT2GND— Keith Sargeant (@KSargeantNJ) March 3, 2015
Are we talking about just a practice facility for basketball? A renovation of the RAC? Practice facility upgrades for all sports? This conversation is comparing apples to oranges to watermelons. Maybe $30 million could do one, but not eveything. In essence, we're still waiting for that feasibility study.
Barchi continued: "In developing the plan we have been assessing the needed improvements to our current athletic facilities, designing plans to address any deficiencies, identifying new needs to accommodate our move into the Big Ten, and conducting fundraising feasibility reviews to determine donor interest in supporting the plan. We are committed to making both necessary and visionary physical improvements; that commitment was reflected in the first chapter of the Physical Master Plan for Rutgers University - New Brunswick, which was presented to the Board of Governors early in February.''
So, again, where are we?
- If there's an athletic feasibility study being done, tell us when it will be released. Don't say it's going to be completed, tell us when. And is that part of the University Master Plan?
- If Barchi is absolutely refusing to build unless there is cash in hand, let's hear it from him. It isn't completely clear whether that is his feeling, and it isn't in his letter to Lesniak. As Lesniak said in Sargeant's article: "I'm curious that the analysis has not been completed and he has already come to the conclusion that the $30 million is not realistic. I am looking forward to scrutinizing the analysis as soon as it comes out. Financing from the tens of millions of dollars of additional revenue that will come from the Big Ten must be a part of the financial analysis.'' [emphasis added]
- The conversation right now is between Barchi and Lesniak; great. Input on the Master Plan (not athletics) has been taken from many constituencies of the University. When does that come out?
Personally, I'm still thinking of starting my own letter-writing to anybody that will listen: Sen. Lesniak, my own legislators (you can find yours here), the Board of Governors as a whole and to individual members (you can find their names here).
I'd like answers to my three points above. Otherwise we're still just talking and dreaming.
Come on, people, let's do something.
De plan, de plan! Or is it just all a fantasy?