University of Nebraska officials unveiled plans Friday for a massive sports complex to be built to the immediate north and east of Memorial Stadium.
As reported by the Lincoln Journal Star, the complex — a proposed three-story, 350,000-square-foot building that will serve as a spacious, state-of-the-art home to the football program while housing dining and study spaces for all of NU’s 600 student-athletes — is still a considerable distance in the future. Ground won't be broken until after Nebraska’s outdoor track and field season ends next spring, and move-in isn’t expected until May or June of 2022.
Location was key to getting the concept off the ground, according to Matt Davison, Nebraska's associate athletic director for football who first pointed to the area's potential 23 months ago. “The adjacencies that this building will provide to Memorial Stadium, only four or five other schools in the country will have that with their indoor complex and their football building, along with training table and academics right there," Davidson said. “And the way it leads into campus, this is going to be an unbelievable move for athletics here at Nebraska and something that’s going to change this place in a big way.”
Once the site of the football facility was reported, there were questions about what the news meant for the track program, according to The Mercury of Manhattan, Kan. The footprint of the new facility will sit on part of the current location of Ed Weir Track, the outdoor home of the men’s and women’s track teams for practice and a few meets each year. Nebraska has one of the best indoor track facilities in the country and hosts several indoor meets each year, and then travels more during the outdoor season.
As part of the facilities plan, Nebraska will construct a new outdoor track stadium north of the Devaney Sports Center on Innovation Campus. The new outdoor track will be closer to Nebraska’s indoor track facility and coaches’ offices at the Devaney Center.
The current price tag for the football complex stands at $155 million, which doesn't include the $12 million or so a relocated track facility will cost, but the university plans to get plenty for its investment. While it may not match the opulence of similar facilities at Oregon or the whimsical recreation-type touches employed at Clemson, the Nebraska facility will be second to none in key ways.
The weight room, NU fundraiser and former offensive lineman Brenden Stai said, “is going to be the best in the nation and probably world-renowned. It is going to be something special.”
“We’ll have a great equipment room, tremendous training room area and, of course, the nutritional piece, the training table, will be one of the finest restaurants in town, let’s put it that way," said Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos, adding that 35 to 40 percent of the $100 million fundraising campaign is complete (the remaining $55 million will be a combination of university/athletic department trust funds and bond financing). “The important thing is that it serves our young people and that it’s a home for Husker football, that everything they need is in that building. When they come to school, they go to class, they come in and that’s their home. And from that builds brotherhood, camaraderie and all of those things that ends up showing on the scoreboard."
Friday's rollout was timed to coincide with a recruiting weekend, a visit to Lincoln by Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State, and the presence on campus of ESPN's "College Gameday."