UO athletic facilities expansion to begin June

EUGENE — Work is scheduled to begin next month on a new athletics administration building at the University of Oregon.

The project includes new football practice fields and a new stadium for women's soccer and lacrosse.

The project is expected to create hundreds of construction jobs. However, The Register-Guard reports that work on the new facilities will cut back on tailgating space.

More than 750 parking spaces will be lost during the two-year construction period. The number will drop to about 200 spaces lost once the job is complete.

UO Athletics Director Rob Mullens said that with the demand for reserved parking and other expected changes, the reduction in spaces likely will mean the end of general admission parking for football games.

The first phase of construction is expected to begin in June when the athletics department begins moving underground utility lines from the construction area. In August, construction crews will mobilize on the site.

The new building will wrap around the north and west sides of the existing Casanova Center and provide a new home for football program staff. The building is projected at 130,000 square feet and will rise to six stories in some places.

Three new football practice fields — two synthetic and one grass — will displace the existing Papi Field, where soccer and lacrosse teams play.

A new field, along with stands, locker rooms and offices, will be built in what is now parking on the east side of Autzen Stadium.

The work is being paid for by Phil and Penny Knight, major supporters of the athletics program. Phil Knight is the chairman of Nike Inc., and a UO alumnus.

The project will be managed much like the Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes. That also was a gift from the Knights and built by companies they hired and supervised. The cost of the center was never announced.

As with the Jaqua Center, Knight is leasing the property for the new football building and soccer/lacrosse stadium and will build the new facilities as a private project. Once complete, he will present them to the UO as a gift.

The athletics department will pay to move utility lines under the projects so the sites are ready to build. Mullens said that could cost up to $3 million, money that will come out of the athletics budget.

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