As the Texas Longhorns prepare to break ground on major construction projects that will result in a new basketball arena and a new south end zone, including renovated football offices, athletics director Chris Del Conte visited two prominent programs on Monday to gather ideas.
Kentucky rolled out the welcome wagon for our visit to @UKAthletics ...first up the Governor Bevin meet us the airport to welcome us on our visit to see @UKAthletics and the fanatic facility @UKMitchBarnhart built for @UKFootball.. #R&D pic.twitter.com/FqfCN3tz5m— Chris Del Conte (@_delconte) February 18, 2019
On Tuesday, Del Conte shared more information about the purpose of those trips in his weekly newsletter, Forty Acres Insider:
With Football and Basketball projects on the horizon, we started this week traveling to the University of Alabama and University of Kentucky to look at their outstanding facilities. It was a terrific opportunity to gather thoughts and ideas while we discuss visions and plans for upgrading all our facilities. I can’t thank our friends and colleagues in Tuscaloosa and Lexington enough for welcoming us with open arms and sharing their day with us. It made for a hectic Monday but certainly was time well spent.
In Tuscaloosa, the school announced last year that Bryant-Denny Stadium will receive $188 million in renovations following the 2019 season, including three new club areas, the addition of close to 4,000 premium seats, including new Loge Boxes and skyboxes, improvements to the locker room, and renovated recruiting areas.
The primary focus of those additions and renovations closely mirror the plans for the south end zone project, which will include new premium seating and Loge Boxes, as well as upgrades to the football offices and recruiting areas.
Renovations at Coleman Coliseum will reduce seating capacity while moving fans closer to the floor and adding premium seating.
In Lexington, the Wildcats completed a $45 million football training facility in 2016 that features a new locker room, barber shop, player lounge, plunge pool, and practice fields.
“We’re at the top of technology in this building,” said Director of Recruiting Dan Berezowitz when it opened. “From our retinal scanners to computers, wireless, coaches have what they need. It’s a lot of what you see in the NFL and top college facilities.”
While it’s too early to say whether or not the trip will substantively impact the projects at Texas, it never hurts to collect as many ideas as possible.