ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - From a new press box and luxury boxes at the football stadium, to a brand new soccer stadium, the University of New Mexico has a lengthy list of what it wants for its sports teams.
UNM is proud of its various stadiums, fields and practice facilities but Deputy Athletic Director Tim Cass admits there is always room for improvement which is why UNM created a master plan in 2007 to redo their sports stadiums.
"It's unique that all our facilities are grouped together," says Cass, and when UNM looks to expand or build any new facilities, they refer to the South Campus Master Plan.
The 20-year-outlook included the $60 million dollar Pit renovation completed a couple of years ago. That renovation gave the legendary 50-year-old arena a much-needed facelift with wider concourses and luxury boxes to make more money in addition to better locker rooms to help with recruiting.
However, there are still many big ticket items on the list. That list includes possibly tearing down the press box at University Stadium for a new press box and rows of luxury suites to stretch the length of the field as well as a new 3,000* seat soccer stadium west of the practice bubble.
Cass says they are approaching about $100 million in facility improvements over the last six years and there are still improvements needed like adding locker rooms for the Lobo baseball field. UNM Baseball Coach Ray Birmingham agrees, "If we want this thing to go to Omaha we can. Every thing's in place, we just need facilities. We need a bathroom."
Cass says the football and baseball improvements are a big priority but starting any of the projects on the list requires money and that's something they're still trying to come up with. "We've been actively pursuing those projects through private donations and when the finances match the need then we usually start construction."
KRQE News 13 asked Cass if he thought UNM has lost any recruits because of the stadiums, he said it's hard to tell but the facilities do play a key role.
To date, The Pit renovation remains the most expensive part of the master plan.
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