Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Stokes Hall and what it means for sports

Stokes Hall -- BC's latest construction project -- is nearing its opening and receiving a lot of media attention. The project represents the University's commitment to the humanities, but I also think it could serve as a template for BC Athletics...and not just because it sits on the original home of Alumni Stadium.

BC has numerous Athletic construction project needs. Just at a high level, BC needs to renovate the Plex, finally build the baseball/softball complex, commit to heavy renovation or total rebuild of the Conte/Alumni complex and build an indoor practice facility (the practice facility might be shoehorned into the Plex or Alumni remodel). All might seem daunting to Brad Bates, but if he looks to Stokes, he will hopefully realize it can be done.

Use of Space
No one wanted to see the Dust Bowl go away, but BC needed the space. There are pockets around campus that could also support some of Athletic's needs. Bates and the planning team just need to be creative and also appease those who fear the loss of more green space or don't want a congested campus.

Raising Money
BC raised $78 million for the building, including a named donation for $22 million. If planned right and if they approach the right donors, Bates could easily raise more than $100 million. Now $100 million won't cover all the projects on the "To Do" list but it could cover the Plex and Indoor Practice Facility. The cost of the Alumni/Conte renovations really depend on how far BC is willing to go.

Think Big
Although it is nestled along what's left of the Dust Bowl, Stokes was a big undertaking and a big building. BC could have halved the square footage and still had a significant project. I hope BC thinks big on the sports needs too. I've referenced a Conte/Alumni renovation, but what about a full demolition and rebuild on the same footprint? That way we could build something that met our needs for football, basketball, hockey, hockey practice, basketball practice, football practice and meeting space. It would probably cost $400 million+, take three years and involve our teams using the Garden or Fenway for a few seasons, but long-term it would be worth it. The people who pushed Stokes thought that way. The people in charge of Athletics need to do the same.

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26 Comments:

At 11:24 PM, Blogger EL MIZ said...

ATL -- do you think Leahy and the BoT would think that the investment would be worth it? it seems like there has been a de-emphasizing of sports, or at least that they do not see the value-add of having a strong football/basketball program. do they care enough, or would we need some of the leadership above Bates to change before this was feasible?

 
At 11:36 PM, Blogger WI_Eagle said...

What is it about Alumni and Conte that need replacement and/or renovations? I've been to a lot of college football and basketball stadiums and I'd say that Alumni/Conte are middle of the pack in terms of quality for on campus stadiums/arenas. There is zero need to expand capacity in either. The three priorities should be the Plex, baseball/softball complex, and an indoor football practice facility (with the minor year by year updates to Alumni/Conte).

 
At 11:39 PM, Blogger Ry said...

I don't know where these sentiment about the de-emphasizing of sports come from? Obviously the performance has not been there, but Leahy and others frequently and publicly reference the need for us to remain competitive in athletics, specifically football.

 
At 12:59 AM, Blogger EL MIZ said...

Ry - i feel like that has just been the consensus in the past few weeks, could just be residue from people still grumpy BC hired another Italian head coach with a Z in his last name.

WI -- i agree on the list of priorities; getting the Plex up to par, as well as the baseball stuff (wasn't that supposed to be on Brighton campus?) and better football facilities should be the immediate aim of any athletic fundraising.

 
At 4:30 AM, Blogger chicagofire1871 said...

Ry, Leahy can SAY whatever he wants. His actions though speak to his level of commitment to the program.

When I spoke to the AD last year, I asked about an Alumni stadium all seater renovation and was told that Leahy did not want to spend the money required to renovate Alumni at this point in time.

 
At 8:02 AM, Blogger Ry said...

I thought we all acknowledged that trusting the BS that came out of Gene's mouth wasn't necessarily the best thing to do?

 
At 8:24 AM, Blogger mod34b said...

I hope BC nixes the baseball complex project and drops the sport in favor of LAX

A baseball complex is a big waste of $$$

 
At 9:10 AM, Blogger WI_Eagle said...

I worry that putting the baseball complex over on the Brighton side would make the baseball attendance problem worse than it already is. As a student I would occasionally be walking back to Walsh or Edmonds and stop by and catch a few innings if there was a game going on. Burying the field on the north side of the Brighton property (~15 minute walk from Lower, even more from Upper) would kill any casual student fan attendance.

 
At 9:38 AM, Blogger Tim said...

"heavy renovation or total rebuild of the Conte/Alumni complex"

Can you be more specific? Both facilities are relatively new (or at least, not too old) and as another commenter noted, we can't even fill Alumni or Conte for hoops as it is.

 
At 10:32 AM, Blogger Joseph said...

How old is too old in terms of these facilities? What would BC gain by spending a ton of dough on reworking them? Is this like the old cold war weapons races? What does it cost per year for straight line depreciation for all these proposed improvements? Someone has to do an ROI analysis here. If it takes hundreds of millions very few years to compete then maybe I'll have to agree with the nay sayers that we will never be perennial national powers in football and BB.

 
At 10:33 AM, Blogger m jurado said...

Hard to reconcile building more exotic structures given the horrible national economy.

BC has become a school out of financial reach for the average good student from a middle class background.

Expensive buildings mean more maintenance costs and tuition hikes.

Although my wife and I are both BC grads, and our kids are doing fine academically , we cannot afford to send our kids to the heights.

We loved BC when it was more green space and tuition was doable with family support, work study and small loans.

Compared to University of " name your state".....BC is an overwhelmingly expensive option.

In our case, the University of Georgia coupled with the in state scholarship for good students means the Tuition is less than 8,000 / year and may be even be much less depending on SAT scores.

Sure ....Athens and Boston are not comparable. But keeping a young adult out of debt has a huge advantage given the shape of our economy.

At least we could afford catholic elementary and middle schooling for our kids and we hope that between our local catholic parish church the the on campus catholic center, our kids will have enough opportunity to keep a firm grounding in faith.

For most BC alumni pre flute ERA, an affordable catholic Jesuit education was the dream.

What's the dream now ?




 
At 10:34 AM, Blogger Mj said...

Hard to reconcile building more exotic structures given the horrible national economy.

BC has become a school out of financial reach for the average good student from a middle class background.

Expensive buildings mean more maintenance costs and tuition hikes.

Although my wife and I are both BC grads, and our kids are doing fine academically , we cannot afford to send our kids to the heights.

We loved BC when it was more green space and tuition was doable with family support, work study and small loans.

Compared to University of " name your state".....BC is an overwhelmingly expensive option.

In our case, the University of Georgia coupled with the in state scholarship for good students means the Tuition is less than 8,000 / year and may be even be much less depending on SAT scores.

Sure ....Athens and Boston are not comparable. But keeping a young adult out of debt has a huge advantage given the shape of our economy.

At least we could afford catholic elementary and middle schooling for our kids and we hope that between our local catholic parish church the the on campus catholic center, our kids will have enough opportunity to keep a firm grounding in faith.

For most BC alumni pre flute ERA, an affordable catholic Jesuit education was the dream.

What's the dream now ?




 
At 10:57 AM, Blogger CatabEagle said...

I agree in part with Mod34B that BC Baseball, at the ACC level, makes little sense. Its a massive, costly, completely unique complex in a tightly restricted campus. This structure would serve only 33 students, and would only be in competitive use 2 months of the school year.

Furthermore, the inclusion of the baseball field not only costs the school $$, but it replaces a 45 year old playing field that the men and women's rugby program uses for two seasons a year (appx 100 full-pay students combined), as well as being used by several other clubs, such as club soccer and club ultimate.

Due to this conference shakeup, we should leverage these issues to remove our baseball program. If they demand we add LAX instead, so be it. At least a Lax field can be multi-purpose.

 
At 11:01 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

I love Alumni stadium just the way it is! There's really no need for a rebuild. Let's wait until capacity becomes a problem, shall we?

Agree about the Rec Plex though... that thing is getting old and uuuugly!

 
At 11:10 AM, Blogger Goberry said...

I realize $22 million is a lot of money, and needed for the building, but it is a crime that they didn't name the new building "Monan Hall".

 
At 11:24 AM, Blogger CatabEagle said...

MJ -

I'd send your kids to UGA (or GT) in a drop of a hat if it meant getting 200k in loans (about 2200/mo in loan pmts). Both are fantastic schools with great reputations. If they kick butt at UGA and GT they will be just as likely to get into a great grad school as if they went to BC. Its a no-brainer, and something BC will have to address in the future.

If you're a smart student living in any state with a good/great public university (VA, NC, GA, TX, CA, MI, CO, NY(cornell), to just name a few) there's little to no reason to go to BC. Student loan rates are more than 500bp higher than the 10 year UST! Who in their rate mind would take out debt at that spread unless there was a major (i.e. Harvard, Yale, Stanford) benefit.

I think BC can survive this, but the less highly regarded schools that charge what we charge (PC, Fairfield, Anselms, Assumption, St. Mike's, Merrimac, Emerson, Simmons) will greatly struggle. Public universities will thrive, and I don't think that's exactly a bad thing.

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger WI_Eagle said...

That public universities will thrive at the expense of private schools is an absolute shame. The only reason that will happen is because John Q. Taxpayer has no choice but to fund billions in subsidies to state schools that promote secular education with a blatant liberal bias. Instead of wasting billions funding these shitholes (I'm not talking places like UVa or Michigan, its the other 99%) families would be able to fund the education that they want (i.e. BC, Providence, etc.). But who am I kidding, that would be economic freedom!! I supoert publik ejukashun.

 
At 12:54 PM, Blogger Mike Curley said...

Full demolition and rebuild of Conte/Alumni would take years and is not in the BC 10 year plan. The school would have to rethink everything to accommodate a mega basketball/hockey/football stadium and practice facility. The BC 10 year plan launched in early 2007, almost 6 years have passed and only a fraction of the plan has been implemented. Any new sports complex, if it were to happen, would take minimum 5-10 years because of the city approvals process.

 
At 2:07 PM, Blogger Joseph said...

WIE, are you perchance equating excellence in education with progressive thought? Any chance that the more people learn and think analytically, the more they will think about progressively. I couldn't help but notice some recent news blurbs about various items such as health, standardized tests, etc that seem to indicate a correlation of education with places like LA, MS, AL, very, very heavily invested with folks that long for the ideas that you espouse.


Question: How much does the average American pay in taxes out of the average income of $50,000. What is the cost of attending BC. This sort of results in the same kind of math problems that cropped up during the recent election. Ideology does not make up for math that doesn't add up. Whether you have a secular education or religious math is the same.

 
At 3:14 PM, Blogger WI_Eagle said...

What I am saying is the only reason public universities have a competitve advantage is because they are taxpayer-subsidized. It is not even religious vs. secular...why should someone who wants to send their kid to BU have to subsidize someone else to send their kid to UMass? It distorts the supply/demand balance of the market (in this case the higher education market) and destroys consumer surplus. Everyone loses. If the government stayed out the market would clear and capital would be allocated to its most efficient use (i.e. the kid who spends three taxpayer subsidized years at UMass-Boston studying poetry and then drops out wouldn't exist anymore).

 
At 3:27 PM, Blogger Joseph said...

But, he wouldn't have a chance to read Ayn Rand either.

 
At 3:37 PM, Blogger mod34b said...

I think Catab may be a statist

 
At 3:43 PM, Blogger WI_Eagle said...

Ha, fair enough Joseph.

 
At 3:51 PM, Blogger CT said...

Progressive. I love the irony.

 
At 4:00 PM, Blogger Mj said...


Interesting comments,


So I wonder does a 80 million dollar academic building, and a 100 million dollar athletic expansion and whatever else lead to downstream tuition costs hike?

If the answer is no....build away

If the answer is yes.....then hard working middle class students and families end up in high debt,....how much debt can a family risk?


the economic landscape...suggests that
We will have to make do with less and the above comment is right on the mark....when yearly tuition costs match average yearly income...the math of huge campus expansions, athletic or academic seems dubious.

As for state school liiberalism....most kids are more worried about finding a decent job than liberal vs conservative issues.

As for religious issues.....it seems the more like BC is building a wall to keep out people of modest means....and yet BC parades a few theologians to keep up appearances.

 
At 4:52 PM, Blogger CatabEagle said...

Mod34b-
I prefer the phrase Hamiltonian.

 

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