Significant facility changes in the works

CLEMSON - On this day one year ago, Dan Radakovich was wrapping up his final afternoon as the athletic director at Georgia Tech.

Less than a year into his tenure with the same title at Clemson, Radakovich met with reporters in the West End Zone on Tuesday morning to discuss the latest round of athletic facility upgrades.

Up first on the docket is the latest round of improvements to Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The primary part of that project includes the player development area, which will be built on the first base side of the stadium.

Radakovich hopes that construction of that facility will begin by the summer.

"That has been in the works for a while," he said. "We're now down to the last phase of that."

The new building will include locker rooms, a lobby, team areas, training rooms, a player's dining area, meeting space, a gallery, catering kitchen, laundry, coaches' offices and a player's lounge. It will also have a viewing platform on the top level.

In addition, the project will also include the move of both dugouts, which will be pushed closer to the first and third-baselines. There will be an approximated total of 150 seats added to the stadium.

The timeframe for the rebuild of Littlejohn Coliseum isn't quite as concrete. With the pre-concept approval in hand, the goal is to have that finished in time for the 2016-17 season.

The rebuilt Littlejohn will be an 8,500-seat arena that includes coaches' offices, weight rooms, locker rooms, video editing and theater arenas that are housed in a separate practice facility attachment.

According to a release from the university, "The arena will also see a significant upgrade to the quality and character of the public exterior face of the building."

It will also have a significantly different look on the inside.

"One of the things that we talked about was, if you stood at mid-court inside Littlejohn coliseum today and looked around, if you stood at mid-court of the rebuilt facility, it will feel like you are in two different buildings," Radakovich said. "That's really our goal."

Both basketball teams will be displaced from Littlejohn one season, once construction begins. Radakovich said there are discussions to play the men's games in Greenville.

Significant changes are also on the horizon for the football program.

The three different projects at Memorial Stadium are scheduled to be finished by the 2015 season -- West Zone phase III, stadium suite renovations and a 10,000 square foot Letterwinner Lounge.

"In the meantime, we're doing some of what we call impact projects in this building," Radakovich said. "We're re-doing some of our recruiting areas. In the spring, we'll re-do the locker room area here in the West Zone."

A new football operations facility is in the works, but "the urgency is not there" to begin construction since they're already housed in an adequate building.

"As we move forward and see what's next within keeping our football program at the elite level, this was the next step, to consolidate all of that, which is why we're going to take this process, study and make sure we do the right things associated with the football program moving forward," Radakovich said.

The Clemson Athletic Facilities Trust will provide the "main" source of funding for the projects. Radakovich didn't offer a price tag on the entire round of projects, which will also include a new academic services building and tennis complex.

"We're going through, right now, some cost estimates, as to where we will land on the debt scale. Currently, Clemson athletics has a statutory limit of $200,000 million worth of debt," Radakovich said. "That was established by the state legislature. As we sit today, Clemson has $25 million worth of debt, so we're way under that statutory limit."

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