The University of Wisconsin Athletic Board approved new financing plans at their meeting Tuesday in an effort to offset the costs of the new hockey and swimming facility, as well as a proposed athletic performance center.
The Athletic Board voted unanimously in favor of endorsing increased priority seating and parking fees for football and men’s basketball season ticket holders, as well as increasing the price of men’s hockey tickets by two dollars, both effective the 2011-2012 academic year.
Both price increases are critical to the Athletic Departments Facilities Master Plan, Athletic Director Barry Alvarez said.
The projected total cost of the new hockey and swimming facility is around $27 million, with $9 million of that coming from Athletic Department bonds, according to a presentation by Alvarez, Associate Athletic Director John Chadima and other board members.
The proposed athletic performance center has a projected cost of around $80 million, with the Athletic Department looking to offset about $52 million in Athletic Department bonds.
In the presentation, Alvarez outlined the current state of UW’s athletic facilities, and said UW is far behind its Big Ten counterparts in terms of the state of its facilities, deterring the university from advancing more in a competitive league.
“When the Kohl Center opened, the facility was state of the art at that time, but we have really maximized its use since then. In the mean time, nothing has been done by the Athletic Department since to improve the other locker rooms or training rooms, and has since become inadequate,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez also said every other team in the Big Ten with the exception of Northwestern has built new athletic facilities as well.
According to the presentation, five other Big Ten schools follow the same method of priority season tickets for certain donation levels, and the proposed donation levels at UW would be lower than the ones established at other Big Ten schools.
The presentation also said UW and Northwestern are also the only schools in the Big Ten to not increase the gift levels of priority seating or re-seat a stadium within the past five years.
This is also the first ticket price increase for men’s hockey since 2005.
The Athletic Board showed unanimous support for the increased seating fees and hockey ticket prices, with many members expressing the need for improved athletic facilities to keep up with the other major athletic programs around the nation and to continue to provide a quality athletic product for the alumni and fans.
The Athletic Board also discussed the importance of completing these projects now, as the slowed construction industry would also help to lower renovation costs.
“This is a situation where we are far behind our peers at other athletic programs. On one side it is a difficult economy, but on the other side this is the time when we need to be making these investments, and these investments will benefit the common welfare of Madison,” said Athletic Board member David Zimmerman.