The University of Arkansas System last week asked for proposals for a design team and construction manager for three athletic facilities that will be financed in part with bond proceeds.

Athletic Director Jeff Long said the new facilities are essential to the future of the school's athletic program.

The projects in the first phase include a $25 million basketball practice facility, a $23 million academic support and dining center, and a $10 million indoor training facility for baseball and track.

The university's athletic department announced a $320 million, 30-year master plan in October 2011 that includes tax-exempt bonds issued by the university system and supported with athletic revenues.

The UA system's $1.2 billion of outstanding facilities revenue debt is rated Aa2 by Moody's Investors Service. The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board must approve any bond issue by the university.

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