U Board of Regents approves $166M Athletes Village

U Board of Regents approves %24166M Athletes Village

MINNEAPOLIS - The new Athletes Village at the University of Minnesota has been given a green light.

Three new buildings and a number of renovations were approved Friday by the U's Board of Regents, intended to support roughly 725 student athletes and the Gopher Athletic Department.

"We're in the Big Ten; we're going to compete like we're in the Big Ten and this set of facilities will help us do that," said U of M President Eric Kaler.

So far, $76.5 million has been raised for the project. The estimated total cost is $166 million. The Board supported President Kaler's plan to use long-term debt to finance and complete the project.

"We're just over $75 million and that's more than we raised in entirety for TCF Bank Stadium and we did this in two years. So we're actually really excited about where we are at this point and we feel like we've got a lot of momentum in that area and we'll continue to work hard," said Beth Goetz, U of M interim athletic director.

The Athletes Village will include three new buildings on the corner of 15th Avenue Southeast and 5th Street Southeast. The total space of the project is estimated at 320,000 square feet.

With the Board's approval, construction can now begin. Officials anticipate the project will be completed in 18 to 24 months.

Among the amenities of the new village: there will be a competition-level track on the East Bank of campus, an academic center and nutrition center at the 60,000-square-foot Land O'Lakes Center for Excellence, a Basketball Development Center for both men's and women's basketball programs, plus a new indoor practice facility for the Gopher football program.

The Bierman Field Athletic Building and the Gibson-Nagurski complex are among the existing buildings that will be renovated for more practice space, meeting rooms and more.

"To see a step forward this big, it's going to do big things for recruiting and just the opportunities that our student athletes have here," said Joey King, a senior with the men's basketball team.

The university expects to break ground in the next few weeks. The project is expected to be completed by January 2018.

Friday morning, the U's Board of Regents also approved a non-binding Letter of Intent to explore merging Fairview Health Services and University of Minnesota Physicians (UMP) into a fully integrated academic health system called University of Minnesota Health.

An integrated system would also enhance financial support for the U's Medical and other health sciences schools. A definitive agreement for the three boards to consider is expected in the spring.


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