Sunday, March 25, 2007

Do Husky renovations make sense?

Washington AD Todd Turner has decided that he wants to pursue major renovations to Husky Stadium. Last December, renderings were released (see the Seattle Times) that show a brick-and-glass exterior. The Seattle P-I more recently reports that there are two options being presented to an ad hoc university committee: either (1) do the full renovation--probably $200 million or more, or (2) spend $70m on smaller projects to keep the stadium functioning. The project is more urgent right now because Sound Transit will be working on the light-rail line in the area and improvements to SR-520 from 2009 to the mid-2010s and it makes sense for all work to take place during the same timeframe.

Now, as much as I love the Dawgs... does it make any sense for public money to go to another great football stadium? Especially with the Sonics seeking public funding for a new arena as well? Husky Stadium being part of UW, it's my impression there won't be a whole lot of non-UW events taking place there... the renovations would eliminate the track... and Turner has admitted that a lot of fundraising has already been conducted for the new Legends Center, narrowing his base for the new renovations (not to mention, the team isn't too great these days).

I'd put the odds of success pretty low, and deservedly so. Still, I'd hope against hope they find a magnanimous donor who loves Husky football and hates academics (therefore ensuring that his/her football donations don't preempt academic donations)...

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