U of M to push ahead with $166M Athletics Village, will take on debt to complete it

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The University of Minnesota is set to push ahead with its plans to build its $166 million Athletics Village by taking on debt to fund the rest of the project.

In an announcement Friday, President Eric Kaler said the U's Board of Regents will "review and act on initial plans" for the 320,000-square-foot village at meetings taking place next Thursday and Friday.

It will comprise three new buildings, a "Center for Excellence/Basketball Development Center," an indoor football practice facility, and a "Football Performance Center."

Kaler said that the U has raised $76.5 million for the project and that the fundraising will continue, but he is proposing to use "long-term debt to finance and complete the project."

This debt, he said, would be paid back by the Gophers' men's and women's athletic departments.

"Overall, the project will allow student-athletes and coaches to maximize time for their sport and studies, as well as help Gopher coaches compete with other institutions during the recruiting process," he said.

The U also intends to reserve a further $20 million in debt capacity to build an NCAA competition-level track on its East Bank campus, and to invest in fulfilling its gender equity and Title IX compliance, according to the announcement.

The Star Tribune's Sid Hartman reports much of the $76.5 million raised toward the Athletics Village has come as the result of the efforts of Gophers football coach Jerry Kill.

He adds that the Board of Regents is expected to approve the construction of a Gophers baseball center as well, using $1.325 million that has been raised by baseball coach John Anderson, plus former Gophers-turned-Twins Paul Molitor and Glen Perkins.

Final designs for the Athletics Village are expected to be approved by summer 2016 and the work completed by Jan. 2018.

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