$166 million Gophers' Athletics Village approved by U of M

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It's official, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents on Friday approved a plan to build a new Athletics Village.

News of the potential approval had circulated in for weeks, but it didn't become official until the vote passed Friday.

U of M President Eric Kaler revealed last week that only $76.5 million of the $166 million needed to build Athletics Village has been raised, the original price tag for which was $190 million.

To pay the remaining balance, the school plans to borrow money, which will then be paid back by the Gophers' men's and women's athletics departments.

The new complex will feature upgrades for current facilities, like the Gibson-Nagurski and Bierman buildings, along with new practice facilities for football and men's and women's basketball. Here's what they're going to build, according to a release from the U of M. 

"The cornerstone of the project is the new, 60,000-square-foot Land O’Lakes Center for Excellence, which will house a new academic center, nutrition center and leadership center. This new structure will provide significantly more space for all 720 Gopher student-athletes, more than doubling the size of the current academic center, transforming on-campus student-athlete development opportunities, and providing Gopher Athletics’ first centralized training table to feed all student-athletes and host nutrition programs.

Sharing a building with the Land O’Lakes Center for Excellence will be the Basketball Development Center, which will become the hub from both women’s and men’s basketball at the U of M, with practice courts, locker rooms, training rooms and teaching spaces for both programs."

Click here to see renderings of the Village.

An exact date for groundbreaking isn't known, but it will happen in the "weeks to come," the release notes. It will take 18-24 months to build the facilities, and it's hoped it will be open by Jan. 2018.

Interim athletics director Beth Goetz announced in early September that the university's track teams will get a $5 million practice facility built on the East Bank of campus, according to the Pioneer Press.

Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune says he's spent the last 50 years watching the Gophers football and men's basketball teams struggle to compete in the Big Ten, but he hopes the facilities upgrades "will become the turning point for sustained success at the U."

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