DALLAS — The University of Arkansas System will add and upgrade athletic facilities at its main campus in Fayetteville through a 30-year, $320 million master plan announced Tuesday by athletic director Jeff Long.
Plans for financing what Long called “a wish list” have not been completed, but the school’s proposal will include tax-free bonds issued by the university and supported by sports-related revenues.
“Certainly we will utilize the proceeds of bonds supported by athletic revenues,” Long said.
Associate athletic director Kevin Trainor said the level of bond financing has yet to be determined, but proceeds will allow the school to complete projects as needed while continuing to collect pledged donations and other revenue.
“The bonds will let us get started on projects, and we will rely on a variety of athletic revenues to support the bonds,” he said.
The University of Arkansas System issued $138 million of revenue bonds in May that included $25 million for a new football operations center expected to cost $35 million. The center is included in the 30-year plan.
“We’ve already received $30 million in pledges for the project,” Trainor said.
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.
Long said other funding sources will include ticket revenues, multimedia sponsorship fees, and the school’s share of Southeast Conference television revenues.
“Hopefully the Razorback fans and supporters believe in what we’re doing here in our program and they’ll step up and support us,” Long said.
Long said the long-range facilities plan does not contain a specific timeline or financial plan.
“Our program’s not afraid to dream big, and that’s what we’re doing here,” Long said. “Over the next five, 10, 15 years, it will continue to morph and change as our reality and our world and the landscape of intercollegiate athletics continues to change.”
Long said no project would get under way until it is approved by University of Arkansas trustees. All projects will conform with UA’s comprehensive campus facilities plan.
“This gives us the road map,” he said. “We know the roads are going to change.”
The total cost estimates for the facilities, which will affect all 19 campus sports, range from $268.8 million to $329 million, according to Long.
The top priorities in the master plan are a basketball practice facility, projected to cost between $20 million and $25 million, and a new academic support and dining building with a projected cost of $18 million to $23 million.
“We are the only [Southeast Conference] school that does not have a basketball practice facility, and that includes Texas A&M,” which will join the conference in 2012, Long said. “We are in need of this facility. We hope that we can move forward with it in the not-too-distant future.”
Other projects include a $95 million makeover of the north end zone at Razorback Stadium to allow more suites, a $14 million indoor training facility for baseball and track, and $51.5 million of improvements to Bud Walton Arena.