CU-Boulder officials unveil $170 million athletic facilities upgrade proposal

Board of Regents committee told that $50 million in private support will be key to success
By Staff
Coach Mike MacIntyre

Coach Mike MacIntyre

University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano, Athletic Director Mike Bohn and new head football coach Mike MacIntyre last month unveiled a $170 million, multi-year proposal to upgrade CU-Boulder’s football facilities before the Intercollegiate Athletics subcommittee of the CU Board of Regents at the board’s meeting in Colorado Springs.

CU will rely on $50 million in private support to execute the project, and a significant effort to raise funds from donors will now begin to support it. In addition, other athletic revenue sources will be used to finance this major initiative.

“This plan represents a carefully conceived, strategic investment in our future in the Pac-12 Conference,” Bohn said. “It will position us to attract the best student-athletes in the nation. It will improve the performance of our student-athletes on the field and in the classroom, and it will enhance our fan experience.”

The first element will consist of a new academic center that will boost student-athletes’ already substantial progress in the classroom. The new facility will provide focus for student-athletes by moving study areas to a new complex beneath the east stands, away from the distractions of the Dal Ward Athletic Center. Additionally, as part of the project’s first element, the north side of Folsom Field’s east stands will be supported against the shifting ground beneath it, improving safety for fans and visitors.

The second element will significantly expand Dal Ward to consolidate football operations, bring together coaches and student-athletes from a number of sports, and provide more physical resources for all in one unified space.

The third element of the plan establishes a permanent indoor practice facility adjacent to outdoor practice fields north of Boulder Creek, creating a year-round practice complex, easing traffic congestion off of Arapahoe Avenue with new streets and transportation enhancements, and forming a new plaza-like entrance to campus from the north.

The plan also includes a study to redevelop family housing that now sits west of Folsom Street and south of Arapahoe. The university has for several years been re-envisioning the possibilities of a more modern family housing complex with greater appeal for residents and greater density to make more efficient use of space.

The final element of the football athletics redevelopment project includes redevelopment of the Folsom Field west-side stands.

Future enhancements not included in the initial cost estimate are planned at the Coors Events Center to further improve the student-athlete and fan experience there.
DiStefano heralded the plan, saying it “balances equally our commitment to the academic success of our student-athletes, the comfort and safety of our fans and the long-term success of our combined coaching staffs.”

“This affirms our institutional values, and positions us well as we move ahead in the finest conference in the country,” DiStefano added.

CU President Bruce Benson said the project marks a bold new era of partnership with donors, alumni, fans and stakeholders.

“Intercollegiate athletics is the front porch of the university,” Benson said. “This plan will help bring people from across Colorado and around the country together in support of CU, and it will challenge all of us as donors, alumni and fans to work together to make this vision a reality.”

MacIntyre said the support from every level of the university – from fans and donors to the athletic director, the chancellor and the president – was gratifying to him and to CU’s other coaches and players.

“This is a strong commitment to success by the president, the chancellor and the university as a whole,” MacIntyre said. “These facilities will represent to our current and future players the dual commitments to excellence, and to be successful year-in and year-out, at the University of Colorado.  The entire university community wants to sustain excellence in everything we do, and at the same time, keep moving forward. This commitment represents both of these desires.”

During the committee meeting, MacIntyre told regents that the proposal is key for the success of the football program.

“We’re going to win in football at Colorado. But for us to do what everybody here wants us to do, we have to move forward,” said MacIntyre, who pointed to recent, big-budget football stadium and facilities expansions at Pac-12 schools.

“Our facility is good, but to do what we want to do consistently, we’ve got to do something. All of this has to move forward – and move forward pretty fast.”