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Teague: Fundraising for facilities project is 'way ahead of schedule'

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Fundraising for new practice facilities at the University of Minnesota is "way ahead of schedule," according to what University of Minnesota Athletic Director Norwood Teague said on Thursday.

The campaign is aiming to raise $190 million, but $150 million of it would go towards Athletes Village, which will include updated and improved practice facilities for the Gophers football and men's and women's basketball programs, along with what the university is calling an academic and nutrition "Excellence Center."

Teague updated the Board of Regents Facilities and Operations Committee noting that so far they have raised about $70 million in just 10 months.

"I feel very good about the pace we're on," Teague told the Star Tribune after Thursday's meeting. "Our fundraising is way ahead of schedule. I am thrilled with the money we've brought in thus far, and I'm thrilled with the prospects of our timeline."

Last week, the university announced a major $6 million gift for the campaign from retired telecommunications executive Robert Eddy.

Gophers football coach Jerry Kill has reportedly said he'd like ground broken on the new facility by summers end. According to the Minnesota Daily, that timeline was backed up by Senior Associate Athletic Director Chris Werle on Thursday.

But before that can happen U of M Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter has said 80 percent of the $150 million needs to be raised, before construction can begin.

He noted last week there remains a pretty big hill to climb. According to a Star Tribune report last week, that leaves Teague about four months to raise another $55 million.

In the meantime, things are happening to move the project forward. Thursday the committee approved spending $15 million of what's already been raised for schematic design of the facility.

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