University in "uphill battle" to raise cash for $190M Gophers facility

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Construction on the new $190 million athletics facility at the University of Minnesota is facing a delayed start as the U is struggling to raise the funding it needs.

The Star Tribune reports that the university's chief financial officer Richard Pfutzenreuter said it has a "big hill to climb" to raise the $120 million it needs to get construction started in October as desired.

Currently only $65 million has been raised, and the U needs to reach $120 million by mid-June if construction is to get underway in the fall, with Gophers football coach Jerry Kill "repeatedly" saying he wants ground broken on the football facilities by the end of the summer, the newspaper says.

The new facility will include a 110,000 square-foot football practice facility and a 96,000 square-foot performance center for the Gophers, a men's and women's basketball practice facility and an athletic center for excellence, the Pioneer Press reports.

The total cost of the project is $190 million, but the first phase will cost $150 million and the university needs to have raised 80 percent of this figure in order for work on the project to begin, the newspaper says.

The U received a boost on Friday when it announced on its website that a $6 million gift had been made to the fundraising campaign by retired telecoms executive Robert Eddy, which is earmarked for the basketball center.

Eddy is due to be honored Saturday during the first half of the Golden Gophers men's basketball game against Perdue at 2 p.m., and at the women's basketball game Sunday against Michigan State.

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