Nebraska’s $155 million football training facility project is still moving forward through the design phase, but the school won’t be breaking ground any time soon.
School officials confirmed to the Journal Star on Friday that construction on the massive facility, which is set to rise on the current Ed Weir Track adjacent to Memorial Stadium, will not begin in June as scheduled.
NU Athletic director Bill Moos characterized the project as being in "pause mode," at least in terms of construction.
"It's supposed to start here shortly and it will not start shortly," he said.
“We want to get it shovel-ready," Moos added. "That’s a term that means the design’s ready, everything is set to go, but the actual construction is yet to be approved."
Nebraska is deep into the design phase of the project, and Moos has recently reiterated that fundraising toward the $100 million mark in private donations has been strong despite the ongoing pandemic.
"We’re moving very, very strongly through the design phase," Moos said. "Our design team has been spectacular. The virtual meetings have been very productive. The conceptual design is jaw-dropping. It’s unbelievable."
NU’s initial proposal to the Board of Regents called for construction on a roughly 350,000-square-foot project to begin in June and the design phase to continue into August. Moos, though, said construction will have to wait for perhaps obvious reasons.
"Because among other things, we have tremendous budget woes we’re looking at," he said. “You start taking a couple of those (home football games) away, and then you start saying, ‘Hey, the stadium can only be 30% full.’ You’re talking about huge, huge numbers in terms of ... revenue streams.”
The initial target for completion was set for June 2022, a two-year timeline that would have comfortably had Nebraska’s football program moved into the new building well ahead of that year’s preseason camp.
Construction of the new football training facility was to coincide with moving the Huskers' outdoor track and field venue to Nebraska Innovation Campus. Construction of the new track also remains in limbo.
“I’ve been through this before,” Moos said. “If you have it ready to go, design is good and everything is ready, you just pause until those who have to be comfortable with the decision give you the go-ahead. I totally understand why we’re going to have to pause because we just don’t know what our financial situation is going to be.”
UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green's office said Friday that it didn't have anything to add to Moos' comments.
During a Board of Regents meeting on April 20, Green said that the design work continue on the facility and NU President Ted Carter said, "Any project that is currently under way that has, simply stated, a shovel already in the ground is going to proceed."
The training facility, though, hadn't reached that point yet, and so now construction will be paused for an undetermined amount of time.
Contact the writer at email@example.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.
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