This is a good news, bad news type of post.
The good news is that after more than a decade of being “50% funded” UB is finally moving ahead with the construction of their field house. The bad news is that said field house is very vanilla.
If you’re a Bull Run community member, or someone who has been following the department for some time then todays announcement came with few, if any, surprises.
The Bullet points are
- The Field house will be build just beyond the north end zone (Where the small end zone bleachers currently sit)
- A small sprint track along one side of the field and pits for jumpers and pole vaulters to practice.
- Motorized hitting cased for the softball team to practice.
There is a lot more if you want to check out UB’s release.
Ok here is my good news:
The field house is going up, the “facilities” excuse is mostly over for a lot of the programs. Also the department can start to focus on other needed infrastructure improvements.
It’s a win, albeit not a huge one, for the school to no longer be the only MAC school without an indoor field house.
Ok here is my bad news:
This is really vanilla. UB misses an opportunity to put together something that can also serve as an indoor track facility for meets. Both the school, and the community at large, would benefit.
I also suspect that a lot of the good feelings about finally getting this will get overshadowed by “yea but you cut three sports”.
Why so small:
So why did UB not build a banging field house with a full track? The answer is that costs for indoor practice facilities scale exponentially.
I’ve not seen the exact price tag but I think this house is in the 18-22 million range (That is my Scientific Wild Ass Guess, or SWAG). The Dream facility would probably cost 35 million or more dollars.
Akron’s football stadium, completed in 2009, is the class of the MAC and it costs 60 million. So do you spend about 40-60% of the cost of a stadium on a field house.
The scaling to cost ratio is such that a school like Temple has a facility which is way smaller than the one being built at UB.
Now to be fair to Temple land and labor will cost more in Philly than Amherst but the point is that unless you’re a solid P5 program it can take a decade to raise the money needed to go from UB’s field house to a full out filed house with an eight lane 400M track around it.
Finally a note:
I know there is a faction of people that does not want to hear this.
This field house did not come at the expense of Soccer, Baseball, and Rowing. UB’s operational budget shrunk by 2,000,000 dollars. That’s what cut those sports, this stadium is being built by (1) targeted donations and (2) financing. Neither of those impacted the department so much that they cut sports.