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Rutgers Facilities Plan Redux: random thoughts while we shoot at the dart board

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We've got this cool $100 million fundraising effort underway to try to bring Rutgers athletics into the 20th Century (no, that is not a typo). But being the guy at OTB who keeps poking the bear in this area, I couldn't help but look again at what's in the "Master Plan" and put it up side-by-side with what's on the drawing board now.

Rutgers University

Dave has taken a rest....after all, we've hired a basketball coach so he can relax.  For a while.  So it seemed like a good time to sit back with a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning, watch Meet the Press, and then check in on what we want - and need - to build.

Dave does hoops, I do construction.  I have a few questions and concerns, so here we go.

Tennis....and maybe soccer

Caught ya off guard with this one, didn't I?  So, the R B1G Build has new tennis lockers and offices in the new Lacrosse, Soccer & Tennis Complex, which I'll call the LST.  The building has a women's tennis locker room.  But none for men, you know, just in case.  And the current courts are a pretty fair hike away, behind the stadium.  I know, they're young and they're athletes; the walk won't kill them.  But it will if they have to walk all the way from Busch to Livingston.  Because that's where the Master Plan has a new tennis center, way beyond the RAC.  It's about two miles away from the new LST building.  So, I was wondering if there's another plan in the works.  Maybe new courts closer to LST now, or maybe this is just a temporary thing for tennis. And if that's the case, why bother putting tennis in this building now, why not just leave it in the Hale Center until .....oh wait. Football.

As for soccer, the Master Plan calls for: "Tennis and soccer venues will be relocated from Busch to Livingston,to consolidate programs and provide dedicated practice and competition facilities." So ultimately, we're moving Yurcak.  But we're constructing a building for soccer now next to Yurcak.  Uhhh, why?  Oh wait....again: to allow for football to expand in the Hale Center.  Regardless - and I know tennis isn't on the table at the moment - those planned courts are way, way, wa-a-ay too remote to be practical.  For athletics or recreation.  Make a note...rethink where tennis goes.

Speaking of Soccer and Lacrosse

I'm just citing the Master Plan here, but I'm beginning to wonder if anyone really looked at what was written. For Busch Campus - meaning near the stadium and Yurcak - the Plan calls for:

Multi-purpose Field House - the plan calls for a field house for field hockey, soccer, lacrosse, and track and field use, which will include locker rooms and restrooms. [emphasis added]

But this same document proposes:

Bauer Complex - track and field and field hockey share a relocated facility towards the south side of Scarlet Knight Park [rvc73 note: that's behind the RAC]. The area is protected by adjacent growth of trees to the west. Additional seating, press boxes, locker rooms are planned for this complex, along with upgrades to the exterior lighting system. [emphasis added]

So we're building a field house on Busch for track and field hockey, both sports currently and in the future having their fields at Livingston.  This field house - by the stadium - would also be used by soccer, which has been, or will be, moved to Livingston.

I don't know...and I realize there are no time lines....but it seems like we're building and then moving and changing and....Pat, we need a phase-in timeline.

Lights for Baseball and Softball

We're one of the few schools in the conference without lights.  No night games, can't even use it for high school championships or for camps in the summer.  It would really be great if we had them, sooner than later.  I mean, when we do play at night, it's a totally unfamiliar condition for our players.  I know some supporters/potential donors spent a good deal of time looking into it.  The cost was about $1.4 million for baseball.  So double it and you've got both fields lighted.  Except there's the Master Plan that shows both fields being moved, so putting in lights now seems to be a waste.  Except we need them.

I thought it would be great if you could back up the two ballparks so they could share facilities.  A complex with locker rooms for both teams, meeting areas, hospitality suites, that kind of stuff.  A common entry plaza that has some character and style.  You could probably do this by building around Bainton Field and just moving softball.  There's plenty of room.  Maybe start thinking about that instead of moving everything.

Volleyball practice area

Bringing multiple sports to the new multisport facility is great.  Everybody gets a practice area...except volleyball.  I know these are just renderings and preliminary schematics, but there's no place for volleyball to practice.  Locker rooms and offices, yes. But....

Maybe there's another plan, but what is shown on scarletknights.com is missing any place for VB.  Just sayin'.

Golf

Just throwing this out there because these folks get so-o-o-o little.  They really do need an indoor training facility...like just about all the B1G schools have.  And it's in the master plan.

Rutgers Golf Training Complex - Busch is home to the Rutgers University Golf Course, a PGA sanctioned, par 71 course that is the competition and practice facility for the Rutgers University Golf team; it and also serves members of the public for nine months of the year. The master plan proposes a new team training center, additional course practice areas and parking, while minimizing disruption to existing wetlands.

Maybe this construction could be moved up a little.  An indoor facility could also be monetized as a training/teaching facility for the public.

Location, location, location

Location and priorities and timelines.  Oh my.

There is just so much to do, so much money to raise, and so much built up anxiety and anticipation to get under control. Without timelines, it's hard to judge why we're doing certain things in what order.  The only thing we're really sure is going to be built is the multisport facility and the renovation of the Hale Center.  Because without them, we'd still be looking for a football and basketball coach.  But all the other stuff, everything that's in the Master Plan, and probably a lot more, is just words on paper.  It gives us ideas, but it also gives me a lot of questions.

After a basketball facility, what are the priorities?  Where should things go?  The Master Plan talks of Scarlet Knight Park, bringing together sports and athletes.  That's Julie Hermann talking.  It's Rutgers' - or Julie's - version of Louisville's Cardinal Park.  But Louisville had a lot more money to work with, and they'd been doing it for a while.  Is that what we need or want?  For my money, it sounds like our plan is moving the deck chairs on the Titanic, a plan in name but without a final vision.

Warning: My ego was not checked at the door.  A year ago, I wrote three posts about facilities: here, here, and here.  For free.  And as far as I'm concerned, it was at least as good as what the University came up with.  Okay, I think maybe a little better in some cases.  But I am biased.

And where are we in fundraising?  Ray Lesniak's tax credits gave us a $25 million head start.  We need a bunch more.  There's so much to do and blog readers keep asking, where do we stand with money?

It's a good question.