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Arizona Daily Star (Tucson)
Since Rich Rodriguez was hired as Arizona's coach in 2012, he's consistently expressed the importance of adding an indoor practice facility for the football program.
Arizona State has one, Arizona does not.
That might be changing.
Rodriguez said at his weekly press conference on Monday that "there might be news forthcoming" and that "there's been some momentum building" toward plans coming to fruition for an indoor facility.
There actually are plans already, too -- the Star confirmed with Arizona's athletic department that the university is in the process of securing approval for an indoor facility, as well as other projects.
"We are in the first step of securing approval for a number of facility projects, including an indoor multipurpose sports center," Arizona's athletic department said in a statement provided to the Star. "Details are still being finalized and more information will become available as we move through the approval process."
The University's Planning, Design and Construction upcoming project list online also includes plans for what's currently titled the "ICA Indoor Sports Center."
The project's listing calls the indoor facility "a new building to provide safe all-weather practice for football and other sports. The multi-use facility is envisioned to benefit multiple sports which will also serve as a game-day venue."
The listing says the facility has a "current budget" of $20,000, though the projected budget is at $15 million. Other details, such as when (and where) the facility would be built are unclear. The Wildcats currently practice at Kindall/Sancet Field, where Arizona baseball used to play its games before moving to Hi Corbett Field in 2012.
Earlier this month, Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke wrote in his weekly newsletter distributed to UA fans that "we are going to be aggressive in addressing our facility needs," and he appears to be holding true to that promise.
The project website also lists plans for improvements to Hillenbrand Aquatic Center, which houses Arizona's swimming and diving program, as well as softball's Hillenbrand Stadium, baseball's Hi Corbett Field, a parking garage on the south side of the football stadium and one remodeled locker room at McKale Center.
The projects are a part of the Arizona's "Capital Improvement Plan" that will be submitted to the Arizona Board of Regents for consideration in September.
Hillenbrand Aquatic's plans call for $15 million in renovations, too, that would include life cycle replacements for the swimming pool, pump room and chemical room, with the old dive pool being demolished to create space for a pool extension.
A new scoreboard will also be installed. These plans still need approval from the Arizona Board of Regents.
At Hillenbrand Stadium, renovations would include sun shading, new fan amenities in seating areas, press box renovations, dugout upgrades and a replacement backstop netting system. The design process will begin soon.
Hi Corbett will be getting upgrades, including a new backstop netting system with interior renovations to the team clubhouse and locker room.
The netting is already installed, while the clubhouse is currently under construction.
There will also be a $22 million, five-level parking structure on the south side of Arizona Stadium that is expected to be finished in time for the season, which begins on Saturday.
Credit: Zack Rosenblatt Arizona Daily Star
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