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Rutgers Facilities: Where we had it right....and not so right.

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On the Banks had the first stories about ice hockey, well before nj.com. And we were on the facilities case early, too. Now let's dissect a bit what the Master Plan presented.

rvc73

The brilliant and astute commenter, vinman (check's in the mail, buddy) wrote a comment under our overview story on the new Athletics Master Plan:

Hmm, Bob, you have some splaining to do. Come on and fess up.

You talked about what kind of plan we should have in March, then magically the plan announced in June looks a lot like it. Hmm, your name is Bob and Dr. Barchi's first name is Robert. Coincidence? I think not. Come on and fess up. You ARE Dr. Barchi, or maybe his illegitimate son, aren't you?

by thevinman on Jun 21, 2015 | 12:11 PM

Have you ever said to yourself, or anyone who would listen: "If they would only listen to me, all the problems of the world would be solved."  I know you have, because I have.  And kind of did in March.  So let's look at what the Master Plan has and compare it to what we speculated in the OTB Feasibility Study.

What OTB Called For

Priority OTB Project
1 Basketball Practice Facility
2 Multipurpose Indoor Facility - Track
3 Indoor Practice Facility - Field Sports
4 Lights for Bainton Field
5 Indoor/outdoor Tennis Facility
6 Move Softball adjacent to Bainton Field
7 Golf Facility
8 Reconfigure track, build track stadium
9 Field Hockey Stadium
10 Baseball/Softball Stadiums
11 Renovated RAC
12 New Boat Houise
13 New Arena
14 Football Indoor Facility
14a Stadium Expansion

That was our list from the first story back in March. And we provided rationales and explanations, too. So what does the Master Plan have, compared to OTB's, and what do we think of it?

Busch Athletic District

We called it Athletic Campus I.  Potayto, potahto.  We start here because it's easier in terms of things to be done.  Apparently in the first phase, along with the practice facility adjacent to the RAC, the south end zone of the Stadium - that's beneath the student section - gets turned into team areas for visiting teams and, even though the plan doesn't say it (really, it isn't in the document; people are just talking about it) the south end zone would become home to the soccer and lacrosse teams, all of which play either at the Stadium or at Yurcak. We didn't have it in our plan, and I didn't like the south end zone idea when it was first leaked back in late April. But it does lead to the complementary action of turning the Hale Center into a football only facility, raising its stock. And apparently football people (donors) like the Hale Center exclusivity for Kyle and the boys.

Yurcak Field Improvements and a Multi-Purpose Field House

I'm a little confused. They propose an addition to Yurcak adding locker rooms, training rooms, and office space; no problem, great idea. It also calls for a "field house for field hockey, soccer, lacrosse, and track and field use, which will include locker rooms and restrooms."  It doesn't say where it would be and it isn't on the map they provide.  Really, it isn't there; try to find #5 on the map.  And here's my confusion: track is supposed to be at Livingston, as is field hockey.  So why does the plan list a track and field hockey facility as being on Busch?  Yeah, I know, it's a broad brush list of ideas.  But, I mean they said they took 18 months to do this.  And they're missing stuff?

Now, OTB had a "field sport" building where the bubble is now, something for soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey.  It's  #3 on the OTB list.  The Master Plan also has a building - it's #11 in red to the right on the map as opposed to the other #11 - on top of a current grass football practice field.  Looks like a good place to put an indoor football building, since the bubble is making way for our field house.  A football building is our #14.

The stadium

Our last item was stadium expansion, and like the Master Plan ("the west side of the stadium is proposed to be renovated for press boxes"}, we built a new press box:

Build a suite/pressbox tower on the west side (think Byrd Stadium at Maryland).  And add a parking deck to the Scarlet Lot that would be perfect for press and all those folks who don't really want to tailgate (sorry, no open flames in the deck).

Golf

The Master Plan calls for golf to get something it's never had: "The master plan proposes a new team training center, additional course practice areas and parking, while minimizing disruption to existing wetlands." Just like we said : "Golf Facility: Why, you ask?  Because we have nothing now.  Nothing.  Not sub-par, not old....nothing.  The other sports have locker rooms. Team areas, indoor practice facilities.  Should these student-athletes have anything less".

Livingston Athletic District

Scarlet Knight Park

Has a nice ring to it.  I wonder where they came up with that name?

We didn't have this, but it ties in with what Julie has been saying for a long time: an Athletes' Village:

The new design proposes the implementation, over time, of a high quality practice and competition venues (sic) with optimal orientation for competition, connected by a central pedestrian spine and adjacent access from on Hospital Road. The newly configured complex will provide a distinctive and unique experience for student athletes, staff and spectators, with close proximity to surface parking.

If nothing else, let's make it easy and inviting for spectators to access the venues.  I do have a problem - you knew I would - with the fact that the new tennis complex has no indoor facility.  I realize that the weather here is ideal for tennis in the spring (Note: the women this spring did not play one home match outdoors; just sayin') but an indoor practice area wouldn't hurt.  We included one. Hey, if you're going for your lungs, why skimp?

Baseball and softball get new stadiums, relocated to avoid wetlands.  Do I have to tell you that we had that, too?  And the track gets a major upgrade: "Additional seating, press boxes, locker rooms are planned for this complex, along with upgrades to the exterior lighting system enabling night competitions and practice."  Remember on Busch there was going to be a "field house" that served track, and as I asked earlier, why?  Your track - and the teams' locker areas - are at Livingston.  We'll make the change when they call us in on the consult. Oh, and unless that Busch field house had a track in it, there's no indoor track facility as we proposed.  Eighteen months of planning.....

Oh, and by the way, neither OTB or the Master Plan even thought about a place for ice hockey.  So, maybe......

The Bottom Line

This will all change as it gets financed and final designs are  put together.  Keith Sargeant has done a great job of presenting the plan, and last week he dug around and came up with numbers.  And they are huuuuuge.  Wait, not enough u's.  The cost is huuuuuuuuuuuuge.  The end result - not counting inflation over the next 15 years - was around $300 million.  His numbers for the first phase, the Hale Center and stadium ($39 M) and the practice facility/garage ($75 M) is more than the stadium expansion by about $12 million.

The plan addresses something like 21 of the 24 sports, including ten in Phase 1.  It is ambitious and it will be costly.  But it is necessary; it was necessary fifteen years ago.  The Big Ten has placed an imperative on the program.  This plan starts to address it.

And if you want to start giving your tax deductible contributions to the projects which also go towards priority point giving (whew), click here.  And remember that July 1 is the start of the new fiscal year for Rutgers giving.