The Auburn University board of trustees set in motion the early stages of the development of a new football facility on campus, adopting a resolution in its meeting Friday morning authorizing the initiation of the proposed project.
The project still has several hurdles left to clear before ground breaks, including the selection of an architect.
The board approved the commencement of that process with athletics director Allen Greene in attendance for the meeting in the Hotel at Auburn University.
Greene has long described the project as an effort to keep Auburn close to the forefront in what’s become a growing arms race at programs across the country involving the ground-breaking of new football operations facilities. Clemson opened a $55-million football complex in 2017. Florida State is set to open $60-million football-only facilities in 2021.
Friday’s approval meant only the commencement of such a project at Auburn. The project will have to come back to the board with designs and budgets for final approval.
Friday’s move approved the initiation of the project and authorized the commencement of the project architecture selection process, per the board’s meeting materials.
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and his wife Kristi Malzahn donated $2 million to the effort as he trumpeted its cause last fall.
The board’s materials states that it’s anticipated that the build will be funded by gift funds and athletics department funds.
Auburn’s athletics complex was built in 1989. A new building could house the football team’s operations while freeing up space for athletics department personnel currently housed in Beard-Eaves Coliseum to then move into the athletics complex. As Greene has said, the Coliseum, built in 1969, will have to come down eventually as Auburn’s campus continues to update.
“The intent of the proposed Football Performance Center is to provide the Auburn University football team with key and essential capabilities and resources needed to successfully compete within the Southeastern Conference and with national peer programs,” the board’s materials reads, describing the proposed project. “The anticipated facility would enhance student-athlete development with space dedicated to strength and conditioning, health and recovery, and sports science, as well as to team meeting rooms, coach and staff offices, equipment storage space, and common areas.”
Last August, Auburn completed a $28 million project for athletics operations, renovating the locker room in Jordan-Hare Stadium and opening the Harbert Family Recruiting Center affixed to venue, which contains recruiting space for football and Olympic sports.
In Friday’s meeting, the board also passed the final approval for a project spending $9.2 million on the renovation of suites on the east side of the stadium.
There are namely three hurdles the football operations building project has to clear before construction.
After Friday’s approval, the board will have to approve the hiring of the architect proposed to lead the project, then ultimately the board will have to give ‘final approval’ after reviewing the full scope of the designs and budget presented.