Thursday, December 27, 2007

UND is planning for the future

I've recently mentioned the many changes that UND is facing in the present day and in the near future. As UND reaches its 125th birthday, the changes facing the athletic department are some of the most interesting: the "Fighting Sioux" debate and the possibility of a new nickname and logo, the move up to D-I in all sports, a new athletic director, and planning for future athletic facilities.

Now come impressive images of what might be in store for UND athletic facilities in the near future. Some of you have probably already seen these pictures, but I stillwanted to post them for those readers who have not had the chance. All of these images are from JLG Architects.

Currently, there appear to be two major plans on the table. Both plans include moving UND football from the Alerus Center to a new stadium to be built on the grounds of the old Memorial Stadium. Both plans also call for the construction of a new on-campus indoor training facility featuring an indoor track, an outdoor track facility, multiple skyways, and a second parking garage.

Plan #1 - outdoor football stadium

The first plan calls for the construction of an outdoor, horseshoe-shaped, football stadium that would retain the western facade of Memorial Stadium.

Plan #2 - retractable roof football stadium

The second plan calls for the construction of a 25,000 seat, retractable roof, football stadium with an indoor training facility built immediately to the east.

Now I'm interested to hear what my readers think of these plans. Are these pipe dreams or realistic plans? Do you think the renderings are attractive? Which plan do your favor? What do you think buildings like these would cost? What does this mean for the Alerus Center? I await your discussion!

Update - 12/30/2007 - 8:50 PM
The above site plan has been updated/corrected courtesy of the folks at JLG.

Update - 12/31/2007 - 8:23 PM
I asked JLG how an indoor training facility would fit in with the outdoor horseshoe concept and they informed me that the outdoor horseshoe concept (shown here as Plan #1) is "an earlier concept that is no longer a part of the plan." This was news to me. Why did the Herald print big pictures of an outdated plan? So I guess we're going with that retractable roof plan, huh? It is pretty cool...


Anonymous said...

It's nothing more than a masturbation session on the past of UND administrators. The only reason it's come up is because of jealousy of NDSU's recent football success.

boodiggity said...

Seems there is a contingent of NDSU backers that are afraid that UND is moving up. They have enjoyed a somewhat successful transition and have let that reach their heads. Seems that they have this perception of superiority and anything good happening at UND is viewed as a direct threat. In my opinion, you can include John Q. Paulsen in this lot.

As for UND's facility "Master Plan", I see it as what it is called... a PLAN. It doesn't propose a timeline. It doesn't mandate anything.

It's amazing that a plan, to which the taxpayers are certainly entitled to, can get a rise out of NDSU backers. Maybe it is just because they don't have a plan...

vcsuvike said...

Although this is just a plan, it is a dumb one. Both buildings are nice, but the city & residents would be irate if the Alerus wasn't used for football. Phil Harmeson keeps saying that in the future there will be big events. I guess stop planning for something so big, and concentrate on what really matters.

Anonymous said...

As a UND alum and a GF taxpayer. I would prefer if the games were on campus. I feel going to the Alerus takes away something from the game. I really haven't been able to put my finger on it, but it just feels foreign or odd somehow.

Whistler said...

If they can come up with a way to pay for it without dumping it on the taxpayers then what's the harm?

Otherwise why force people to pay for someone else's dreams.

I've been to a total of 6 events in the Alerus stadium. I'm paying the same as people that go to everything.

David W said...

From the very beginning UND should have been looking to revamp the Memorial Stadium site. The open-roof horseshoe style design is great, and with the parking new parking garage, this stadium would fill out the campus quite well.

Coming home this Christmas and driving through the campus and seeing the changes has made me realize what a great campus this is. Now with the Ralph and the Betty and the Wellness Center, the campus is a campus. Having football off campus takes away from the college atmosphere and only panders to the city dwelling alums. Teams who come into UND should be treated to our campus, not the town, they can tour that on their own. The university needs to get its priorities straight.

Anonymous said...

The climate being what it is in GF, I would opt for the stadium with the retractable roof. Attendance went up substantially when the Sioux moved indoors to the Alerus. Moving back outdoors would keep some folks at home.

That being said, the outdoor horseshoe design does seem to offer more flexibility for the future, but if the retractable roof stadium is sized at 25-26k, I can't see a need for anything larger.

I would love to see the whole plan, as shown on the site plan, move forward. That would put UND's facilities as some of the best in the country at any level.

I recall reading in a recent article in the Herald where Bruce Smith, a candidate for UND President, called the plan doable. Does Mr. Smith know something??

Liz said...

I'm not sure I agree that being outdoors prevented attendance at Memorial Stadium. As a student, I used to go there for games all the time, and it was always pretty packed. The only thing the Alerus does is add cost to attending and allow old people to show up. It's important to have community support for movements like this, but ultimately this is about the students--and they're on campus.

Anonymous said...

From UND's media guide...
Year Average Total Games
2005 9,426 65,980 7 (1 pl.)
2004 9,389 75,110 8 (1 pl.)
2003 9,033 81,299 9 (3 pl.)
2002 9,488 56,930 6
2001 10,517 100,238 10 (3 pl.)
Memorial Stadium
Year Average Total Games
2000 8,658 51,949 6
1999 7,813 46,882 6
1998 7,692 38,461 5
1997 8,810 44,049 5
1996 6,084 30,421 5
1995 8,116 48,694 6 (1 pl.)
1994 6,211 43,476 7 (1 pl.)
1993 6,474 51,790 8 (2 pl.)
1992 7,733 38,667 5
1991 4,846 19,382 4
1990 7,260 36,300 5

bubba said...

sure, lets build a 25,000 seat stadium for a team that averages less than 10,000 in attendance. that sounds like a tremendous idea.

Anonymous said...

Since they have jumped to Division I, both SDSU and NDSU have seen increases in attendance in the range of 50-60%. If UND sees the same type increase, it will be in the 15,000 neighborhood. The Alerus capacity is around 12,500. If you are going to build a new stadium, you better be planning for the future.

Who would have thought that the Ralph would be enjoying crowds averaging in excess of 11,000 when the old facility only held 6,600?

Szymanski's Designated Driver said...

Another big change comes to the football program.

Dale Lennon just announced he's taking the head coaching job at Southern Illinois.

undflyer said...

Pandering to the city dwellers? What makes you think this wouldn't happen if a new stadium is ever built? As a student, I see Grand Forks as a city that loves student $$ but hardly appreciates the fact that there is an actual university with students located there. I would argue that the hockey seating fiasco in past years is a prime example of that...the community loves its hockey arena but can't handle it when the students want to stand up and cheer.

I would argue that the parking garage doesn't increase the "campus" feeling, but do agree that there are a few steps being taken to increase that "campus" community. If only the Bronson property would have been developed as promised, we would be way ahead of the game!

Anonymous said...

I would rather see the university invest some money in fixing up some of the existing buildings on campus instead of building more sports facilities. I graduated from UND in 2005 and so many of the classrooms and dorms were shabby and outdated. The Alerus and the Ralph are very new facilities and will work just fine for many years to come. Fix up some of the lecture halls with broken seats and 1970s avocado green decor instead.

Anonymous said...

If new sports facilities are to be built it would be done with private donations. Maintenance and repair of existing buildings is paid for thru the State. Since the State had extra money this past year, more money was allocated to do maintenance and repairs at the universities.

Goon said...

I can't wait for the grumbling about the Alerus being used for something else other than football.

Matthew said...

As much as keeping Memorial Stadium around would keep some semblance of continuity, I think the second plan is the way to go because it supports a number of sports, not limited to football. With things being moved on campus, however, I as a student would expect to get in free of charge to support MY team.

That said, I agree with anon1:22 about using university money to improve the quality of classrooms, labs and teaching at UND rather than building new stadiums. Yes, I'm sure it will be done with donor money, but think of what that money could do for the educational aspect of the school!

I wish the Alerus could be used for something worthwhile, someday. It would make it seem less a failure.

Campus Dakota - Big changes in the wind.

local boy said...

These facilities are going to be financed through DONORS. Some of you people on this blog don't understand that when a person gives millions, they want the money to go WHERE THEY SAY. If a person is donating, they have every right to say what they want the money used for. If folks want new labs, classrooms, etc, go after your department's rich alumni, pursue grants, etc.

Anonymous said...

You said it right, local boy. If I often designate where I want my donations to go. And why not? I don't think students really care what color the walls are. At least I didn't when I went to UND. Sports fans are not all UND students or alumni and they want nice facilities.

Orator said...

More and more students at UND are starting to complain about the "Ralph Tax" added to their fees every year. For Pete's sake, at least let them have reduced admission to events at the arena they pay big bucks to support every year. Remember - the added revenue for athletic and research endeavors at UND are paid for by individuals trying to get an education. As the percentage of UND's total revenue from tuition gets larger, those footing the bills will start to demand that the money be spent on what they deem important: education. The research, athletic expansion and "Geezerville" (North of the Ralph) functions of the University may have to take a back seat for a while.

ben said...

Students get reduced rates to all of the UND events held in the ralph...and I question the "ralph tax" there a UND student that can tell us if such a thing exists and how much it is?

Anonymous said...

Yeah outside donors pay for the initial construction, but how are these facilities maintained? I doubt donors pay for the ongoing maintenance of these buildings which quickly add up to the millions for heating, cooling, landscaping, etc. This has to come from somewhere. I love the new buildings, but it seems that the university, like most of people in this country, is living above its means.

Anonymous said...

The Ralph is self-sufficient. That is why it is run by a corporation and not by the university. It will be given to the university in 2030. Ralph did not want to burden the university, so he decided it would be run by a private corporation and leased back to UND. Hockey rents it for a $1 dollar per year. I imagine the Ralph tax is the $0.0000000001 that anonymous is paying. I suggest going on a tour of the Ralph or at least doing some research before spouting off.

chimi said...

UND may rent the Ralph for $1 (proof?), but there is a link of a proposed UND budget as the athletic program moves to DI that shows an expense of well over $1 MILLION charged to "REA rent" found here:

chimi said...

I'm sorry. The expense is titled "REA Usage Agreement" and it is definitely not $1.

ec99 said...

Looks like Ralph E's dream of UND existing simply as a pretext for athletics has come true.

naturalplastics said...

good luck - where do you think they're going to get that kind of money from. Are they just going to make all the students pay for it in student fees, then make it a rule that alumni can't enter the new building like they did with the wellness center?

Anonymous said...

UND draws over 1,000 fans less than it did 5 years ago and they average about 9,000 per game. The city payed money to subsidize the Alerus. The Sioux never come close to selling out the Alerus so why should the tax payers pay for a new stadium when the Alerus is perfectly good. This is silly.