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Tech athletic building campaign to be $185 million initiative

No timeline established for highest-profile projects

Posted: August 29, 2014 - 2:57pm  |  Updated: August 30, 2014 - 12:14am
South end zone building renovation and addition project 1  Provided by Texas Tech
Provided by Texas Tech
South end zone building renovation and addition project 1
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Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt attached updated numbers to the department’s “Campaign for Fearless Champions,” saying it will be a $185 million endeavor with more than $75 million already raised or pledged.

Hocutt could not provide a timeline for starting some of the highest-profile projects: an indoor football practice facility, an indoor track and a three-level addition to the south end zone of Jones AT&T Stadium, which, at least at this point, does not include the stadium’s iconic Double-T scoreboard

Tech officials Friday unveiled plans for the ambitious undertaking that started in September 2013 by making renderings public for the first time. The campaign entails 25 projects in 17 sports, of which seven have been funded and completed.

“We want to move as quickly as we can,” Hocutt said, “but we are dependent upon having the funding streams and revenue in place. We will continue to visit with folks about investing into these facilities, and as the opportunity presents itself — from a funding mechanism, from fundraising success — we will move forward.”

The first orders of business after the 2014 football season, he said, will be replacing all chair-back and bench seats in Jones Stadium and turning the office space at the north end into a club-seating area with about 350 premium seats.

As for the Double-T scoreboard at the stadium’s south end, it might go somewhere, but it can’t stay where it is, Hocutt said.

“We have had that evaluated,” Hocutt said, “and unfortunately the Double-T scoreboard is not in a position to be relocated. However, it is an iconic monument at Texas Tech University and I do hope, to the degree it’s possible, we can preserve that and relocate it somewhere on our athletic campus.

“I envision something similar to what was done with the neon Double-T that is now on the east side of the stadium (after its original placement on the west-side pressbox). We don’t have all the answers now.”

Hocutt said when construction gets underway on the indoor football practice facility and indoor track — to be situated side by side just south of Jones Stadium — they will be built at the same time. Combined, the projected cost of the two is $50 million, of which more than $25 million is in place, he said.

One of the most high-profile projects is a three-level south end zone building that can house 30 suites — 15 each on levels two and three — and a Hall of Fame, stadium club and athlete dining hall on the lower level.

Hocutt said he will have “100 percent of the revenue identified” before OK’ing work on the south end zone building.

Who knows, then, when that will begin.

“I think it’s too soon right now to project,” Hocutt said. “As we look forward, the indoor football and indoor track is our priority right now, but recognizing the opportunity with having a revenue stream with the south end zone is going to escalate that discussion on our radar.”

Tech currently has 85 suites in Jones Stadium, all occupied. The waiting list for suiteholders is more than 30, according to Associate Athletic Director Amy Heard, who heads the Red Raider Club. It has been as many as 50, she said.

Theoretically, that means Tech already has enough interested suiteholders to fill the new spaces if they like the location.

“As Kirby mentioned, too, we’re still trying to decide if it’s going to be a combination of club seats or suites,” Heard said, “because we have a demand for club seats equal to the demand for suites. Maybe more for club seats, honestly.”

Tech announced this summer the seats it’s made available on a season-ticket basis are sold out. Individual tickets remain for every home game except the Nov. 1 Texas game, mostly ticket allotments returned by opposing teams.

Plans call for the indoor football facility to sit next to the team’s football building that opened in 2003. The indoor practice facility will run north-south, parallel to the Red Raiders’ two practice fields. Perpendicular to that, in an east-west layout, will be the indoor track with seating for 4,000.

The additions will mean the removal of staff parking next to Red Raider Avenue. It also means the demise of the Athletic Training Center, a 29-year-old facility that’s now viewed by Tech officials as mostly obsolete.

In addition to replacing the stadium seats after this season, Tech plans to start converting north end zone office space into a club-seating area.

That will entail moving business office personnel to the south end of the stadium and completing office space in the east-stadium building to relocate the ticket office and fan engagement and promotions.

Hocutt said those moves should be complete before the 2015 or 2016 seasons.

don.williams@lubbockonline.com

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