Among the 11 or so capitol projects singled out by UB Athletics yesterday six were considered "low priority".
|#||Item||Cost (M)||Priority||BR Deps|
I'm not sure what lower priority means but I am guessing that these aspect of the facilities improvements mainly exist as scribbles on napkins. Three of the six don't even have price estimate perhaps because they are in the pre, pre, pre-planning phase.
The ones that do have prices are pretty standard projects. The Baseball Stadium, Soccer field, and improvements to Nan Harvey field. It's not hard to guestimate what an NCAA baseball field will cost to build. Just pick up the phone and call Campbell or Savannah State and ask what their new 700ish seat stadiums set them back.
But I digress.
In my opinion the biggest key to the "Low Priority Projects" is Kunz Field. Until that gets done you cant take out the track for your "stadium patio" or "lower the field". Kunz could also server as a place for soccer to play while Director White raises the 5 to 10 million he has estimated the new soccer venue will cost.
Much like the Current UB stadium Kunz field, so named in in 2005, was constructed to host something other than UB athletics. Its first use was by the 1985 Empire State Games. This brought 10,000 athletes and officials to Buffalo at a time when UB was fighting in earnest for their ramp up to Division One.
It got a lot of use until the current stadium was built in the 90's.
The facility contains an eight-lane, 400-meter running track and is used mainly by intramural activities, clubs, marching band, and team practices, and is also used for some special events.
It's not really been loved since the early 90's so there is a lot of work to be done in making it a serviceable venue for Division One NCAA Athletics.
The press box is described as "a pigeon roost and bathroom". Clearly it's in need of come upgrades. The facilities and the areas where equipment are stored are pathetic. The track needs to be widened and probably resurfaced, and the stage lockers need to be improved.
And then there is the question of what to do with intramural sports? Ideally you share with them, let the students benefit from the improvements directly. I do not envy the person who would have to schedule all of that but it would really help the student body feel
The point is that even though it's the least "core" piece of the current UB Athletic infrastructure it has to be brought up to specs for many of the more visible projects to proceed.
The baseball field is intriguing.
Just a month ago I was wondering if UB would have to beg for shared time with the Bisons. The truth is Buffalo has talked to the Bisons about perhaps a game here or there in the future but it can't work as a regular venue due to logistical concerns.
My only gripe about the baseball field is that it looks like it will not include lights. I don't see them in the renderings and I suspect it's the reason the soccer field, which includes lights, will cost 5-10 million while the baseball field will cost only a five million.
The baseball field will be right next to the Soccer field where UB plans to spend 5-10 million. Nan Harvey will get new field, renovated dugouts and a press box upgrade for two million. I'm not sure that it's the best spend right now.
Don't get me wrong Nan Harvey needs some TLC but I would make this the lowest priority for several reasons.
- Unlike Soccer, and Track they already have their own facilities
- They will never generate revenue for other sports like football (fix the stadium first)
- Unlike Baseball they are already on campus.
I'm a little iffy on the sideline patio, especially since I've seen no price tag.While it looks better than a track it will not improve any of the sight lines in the stadium. I'd rather take whatever money would be invested in the patio and put it in the "lower the field" fund.
Along with the "High Priority Projects" these would create a solid athletics core where every venue except outdoor track was held. It's the kind of big capitol project which when taken with UB's institutional profile would begin to set the school aside from it's mid major peers.