Read on TSL that $50 mil Being Used on Cassell

If this true, This $50 million could be spent on a football operations center that is sorely needed. UVA and Liberty are planning to build such facilities for football. How can we compete against other programs and attract good coaches when the message has been sent that football is not a priority at VT. Wow.

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Don't we already have similar facilities in place? Cassell definitely needs some renovations before anything else.

Yeah didn't Beamer leave a "state of the art" facility when he left?

Hard, smart, tough.

No, we don't have a football only operations center. Such a center keeps all coaches, assistants, and recruiting staff all in one building instead of having everyone spread out. As I understand it, recruiting staff are being crammed into tight spaces now. If you want football operations to run smoothly and efficiently, such a building is needed. Most, if not all, p5 programs have a football only operation center.

Where would that building go? The footprint isn't there. The current expansion and modernization of Merryman and Johnson will do much of it but we will never have a complex like so many schools because we don't have the places to put them. Stadium woods fight remember.

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True. Maybe that's why it's not in the plans to build one.

We also have a much more integrated football footprint. Most of these schools are really spread out. I like having football ops next to the stadium, practice fields and BeamerBarn.

I've always thought that you build a more permanent NEZ out of hokie stone and pre-cast concrete and you put offices within that facility. It would lover look the practice field.

Would have to figure out a way to still have an access road under it for access to the Beamer Barn and locker room/equipment rooms.

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Tunnel with office space above. Boom...I'm an urban planner now :)

We put the K in Kwality

Hey "urban planner" how you going to build a tunnel big enough for big rigs and fire ladder trucks that also has office space above without covering up our fairly large and expensive video board? Without taking away more of the football practice fields? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Bigger tunnel!

Seriously (sort of) The Bureau of Fiscal Service in DC has an off ramp that runs under it. You basically build a pier led building on top of a two story open/tunnel.

We put the K in Kwality

Atletico Madrid's old stadium had a freeway running under it lol. It's not that hard man.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

Just a few million extra dollars to the cost.

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I use this saying at work very often:

"It's never a problem...it's a question of money"

We put the K in Kwality

any legit NEZ expansion would replace the video board, because the NEZ structure would be taller than the top of the current screen. Might have to go with dual corner screens or something along those lines.

Imagine a similar structure to the SEZ except with multiple floors of offices behind the concourse instead of open air. There's not as much depth available on the N side, so the structure would need to be more vertical. I picture something with a lower deck, then a few levels of suites facing Worsham with matching offices facing the practice field, topped off by an upper deck.

Which would suck as it's what less than 10 years old.

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I mean do you want an obsolete video board, or do you want football offices & 1 or more new, modern video boards?

I'd like to focus on staff with the limited millions we have.

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I'm convinced he wants VT to live in perpetual mediocrity. Everything anyone says about VT's future is met with excuses, bemoaning, and cynicism. We can't even daydream on a internet forum without overwhelming doom and gloom.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

Or I live in reality where Tech brings in less money than almost anyone we consider "peers", sits in an out of the way part of the state, has limited options to built out its building footprint and barely gets enough donations to pay the scholarship Bill much less pipe dreams of spending 100's of millions for football only buildings with road tunnels under it and expanding the football stadium. Join me in the real world where we are going to spend about 30 million in the next 6 months firing and hiring staff during a pandemic where the department is short about 30 million on just this years budget.

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phew, I thought we weren't going to get to it today, but thankfully, you came through in the clutch to preach about our state of poverty

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

Budgets don't lie. I'm all for firing and hiring the best options but we have to be real about what we can do with our budget. Hell we needed a loan from the academic side that built out the required infrastructure for the ACCN on campus.

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I'm picturing a scenario where a child is playing with Legos, and makes a funny shaped building. Instead of saying "that's awesome" you begin a 10 minute monologue about how unrealistic it is.

Give it a break for a day man. It's an internet forum. Let us play our hypotheticals.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

Sorry I thought I was on a message boards with adults I'll Adjust my expectations of your posts.

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The main thing is that we'll never build facilities like that without asking donors for support.

The lack of a strategic vision / roadmap for facilities development is killing us in this regard. Everything is piecemeal and grand ideas get shot down because its not clear how we'd get there from here.

10 years is an eternity when it comes to the technological arms race.

Hell, the PNC Arena in Raleigh has had 3 scoreboards in that same time

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

That latest scoreboard is something man. It's distracting trying to watch a basketball game because the players are smaller on the court than they are on the dang board!

You're not lying. Had season tickets to the Canes, and being able to watch replays up on that thing was something else.

The crazy thing is, the screens they have under it, for people in the lower half of the lower bowl to use, are bigger than the screens they had on the previous one. Its just enormous.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

BTW, Indiana did the same thing to their north EZ. It looks awesome.

Click

Unfortunately we don't have that large a footprint to do that. You have from the fence to the front of the stands and that's if you remove NEZ student seating. It also would either mean the video board gets moved to be on the Field side of the building, raised up or the building has to be built lower.

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Went to a game there about 10 years ago (roommate went to IU, we went back up to party for their homecoming, the tailgate scene was fun).

That stadium is bizarro world Lane Stadium. Same blueprint but the press box is on the tall side. They had just finished up the North End Zone renovation, and it really did look excellent. Unless the fire code and/or building code in Indiana is significantly different than Virginia, there is no real reason we cannot do the same, just on a larger scale to not reduce capacity. A bowled in NEZ for students to turn Lane into a horseshoe would make an already intimidating venue that much more tough to play in, and give us an opportunity to build a football staff front office that is able to have the most modern amenities available to the staff for use in recruiting and gameday preparation going forward, while allowing us to convert the existing facilities in Merryman for whatever venture is needed next.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

We would lose half our outdoor football practice fields for one. Where would the video board go for two?

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You don't have to build a facility directly behind the NEZ. You could leverage the empty space between the East side, NEZ and practice fields for that. (to shoehorn it in, much like you used to see with old baseball stadium dimensions) And it doesn't all have to be above ground. I'd look into having a field level club in the corners, with the players tunnel going through it before the game, like you see in many NFL stadiums right now.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

That would be cool. Someone mentioned once that there are issues with modern code if we attach anything to west or east side so I like the idea of the corner type building while making NEZ permanent seating with smaller upgrades that doesn't impact road, practice fields or student seating.

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Yeah that's why I said if they could do it at IU, unless Indiana's code is significantly different than Virginia, we should be able to do it as well. They bowled in their NEZ and actually connected to the East and West. This was done in 2009.

They've also since expanded their SEZ in 2018 and connected as well

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

It's a good idea but anything that involves the words "under ground" and "tunnel" will make a project like that extremely cost prohibitive.

Also question - who exactly is also in Merryman? I thought that was the football ops building?

Oh I'm not saying add in another tunnel. I'm saying literally dig out the land to level out from field level of Lane, and then build up from there. Doing this would eliminate a portion of the existing player tunnel entryway into Lane, and that's where I say just have them walk/run through a field level club like you see in NFL stadiums during Enter Sandman.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

Mostly football as it's the largest sport but almost all the other sports also have some precedes there either athletic training, nutrition, coaches offices etc. part of the ACCN control center is also in there for the school.

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I'm not an urban planner of any kind, but why just focus the attention in and around the vicinity surrounding the current sports complex? There's planning that would need to be done, but there is plenty of usable space on campus for major projects, they just start getting further away from where we're traditionally used to seeing sports. The golf course (whats left of it) is a prime example of space that could be used (not saying it should, but could). We also literally have cow pastures of land that could be used, and those could be relo'd well off campus to at least get that semi-annual stench out of the air.

You want to try and keep sports complexes as compact as possible. You don't want guys taking a bus from the locker room to the practice field.

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Dont get me wrong - I understand that part. What I'm saying is do we need to have ALL sports centered in the same place? I think the answer is no. With that said - move the basketball complex to the golf course and build it out with a 50 year vision. Once that is done - knock down Cassell, and expand whatever is needed for football.

What is going on with the tennis courts next to the basketball facility? Aren't there plans for that? To me that could be another spot to put a building.

You know, there's a really good, unused spot right next to the stadium. Just have to take out a few trees and it'll be fine.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

That got ugly and whatever happened to the plans for a plaza there as the compromise?

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Lol, I think we could figure out our recruiting issues without a football-only operation center. What a poor take with a complete lack of perspective. Reminds me of this clip from the Simpsons, "Yale could use an international airport"

Except we're competing for recruits with schools that are investing heavily in football-only facilities. "Come to UVA, we just built a huge impressive complex just for you!" vs. "Come to VT, we just spent a bunch of money on basketball and you'll have to share your facilities with other sports, but we think football is cool too I guess".

Remember, I'm not saying this reflects reality, it's all about perception to high school kids. If we are going to spend like a mid-tier program, then we're going to recruit and play football like a mid-tier program. If we're ok with that then we might as well keep Fuente. Any new coach worth a shit is going to ask for the facilities upgrades we're talking about anyway.

According to my mom, Cassell has looked the same from when she started there in the mid 70s as it did the last time she was inside the coliseum in 2016.

I have no problem finally doing something to improve it.

your mom is correct...I started there in 73

I read this in two different ways and both of them get a leg

As much as I love Cassell, we really do need a new arena at some point.

Agreed. Would have preferred money to be allocated to a new arena instead of renovations.

Imo if cassell got rid of the Big ass celling fans and just installed AC Cassell would be alot better. Even tho it has gotten better with every seat better the leather with cup holders

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IT'S LIKE

Absolutely not. Part of what makes college basketball unique is the gyms and the atmospheres they provide. Cassell gives us one of the best homecourt advantages in the country - it's hot, it's weirdly shaped, and as a fan you feel almost a part of the action. It needs adjustments (bleacher seating for student section, a new facade, new lobby, new bandstand, and adjustment to the top corners) but replacing it with some cookie cutter arena that won't fill up for millions of dollars would be a travesty.

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

Absolutely 100%. Let the NBA have it's gimmering, cookie-cutter soulless arenas. College bball has a ton of historic buildings. No one complains that at Cameron it's too hot and the announcers are 100 feet up in the air- it's all charm and home court advantage and the specialness (a Vitale special) of college hoops. It helps that Dook wins a lot that no one complains about how it's an old crappy building. Build a winner and those warts are lovable.

The Cup is going nowhere Mikey!

If you were to do a tour of college hoop arenas, where would you go? Which gyms would you be the most excited about? My money is that most people would have a similar list to the one me and my brother have. Duke, Minnesota, UPenn, Gonzaga, Kansas, Dayton. Gyms with character and history. Nobody is getting excited to see where Ohio State, Georgetown, or NC State plays.

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

Georgetown made a huge mistake going where the Wizards are at the Wallet. Would love to see behind the scenes at Oregon. Kansas will always hold a special place for me. Went there a few times as a kid and was amazed. Would have liked to have gone to the Carrier Dome in Syracuse's heyday. Indiana, the Palestra, and Madison Square Garden for a Final Four.

Assembly Hall in Bloomington is a great example of not updating a gym. By all accounts that place sucks as a fan, yet they fill it up no matter who they play. I'd put it on my top 5 list of places to see a game.

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

Had a chance to catch a game there a couple years back. Definitely a neat place, they have done some upgrades to the concourse that make it a little more modern.

Add Rupp Arena to that list. Bleacher seats are tiny and it's pretty cramped, but people fill it up.

I am not sure what to do with my hands now

Is there context to this that I don't know

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

I don't think there's anything specifically out there. The last BOV report showed that the Cassell renovation feasibility study was complete. Looks like HNTB Corp (who specializes in stadiums/arenas/infrastructure) did the study, but that's all I can find at this time.

https://www.hntb.com/project-list-architecture/

Yes. We are behind other p5 programs when talking about football facilities. Not having a football operations center puts us behind other p5 programs. That puts us at a disadvantage in recruiting (not having enough space to hire more recruiting staff) and hiring a good head coach (pretty sure a good coach worth having would require such a facility or a commitment to have such a facility be built so that everyone is in one building and not spread out).

Would you mind editing the thread title to invite more discussion as opposed to sounding like you're breaking some news?

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Sorry about that. Edited the title to clarify what I heard on TSL msg. board.

Thanks

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

I'd prefer we spend 37.5 on Cassell and 12.5 on something else....

At least $40/$10, and I am a basketball guy.

Right?

If the Cassell project is using a lot of concrete, I have a plan to spend the $50 million and still save 12.5 million

Just posting this for a union buddy of mine.

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Um you apparently have not got the memo yet but we are a basketball school now

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โ€œI served in the United States Navy"

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We do shooty hoops good

We do shoots hoops ok

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At least the trend is in the right direction (so far), unlike with the football team.

Until our coach leaves for a better deal yes...

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
โ€œI served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

Budgets are developed years in advance. The drawings are probably started a year ahead of bidding. Each approval process probably takes 30 days for each stage. By the time we get to construction, wheels have been in motion for a long time.
People are upset about a football program that has recently been disappointing. The plans for Cassell are much older than 'recent'.
I can assure you there are wheels turning on other upgrades at our sports facilities. It's a constant thing. I saw bathroom renovations bidding for the West stands this morning.

This thread reads as knee jerk and lacking overall perspective. Everyone just calm down and be happy we are making progress on facilities.

With BCOM, fundraising, and permits, capital projects like this take 7-10 years.

Well, don't forget that BCOM recently renamed herself to DEB. Same inefficiency, new name.

Not having done any Tech work, I'm not sure how things work with HECOM and DEB. But, having done plenty of other state work, I'm reasonably certain I can predict it's unnecessarily complicated and slow.

The feasability study is done, but I didnt see anything actually committed. Covid likely pushes the majority of the renovations but I could be completely off base there. Even if they do happen its likely funding from the Carillion naming rights, which I believe are required to be used for either athletic scholarships or improvement to Cassell facilities. That money cant be spent on the football program.

Cassell needs it, but more money needs to be pumped into the football program.

For important regional context on why Cassell needs money ASAP...

JMU is opening their new $140 Million 8,500 seat Atlantic Union Bank Center this basketball season:

Liberty University is opening their new $65 Million 4,000 seat Liberty Arena this basketball season:

These aren't even ACC or P5 schools and are in-state ~2 hours from Tech's campus.

Great post here. Shows how much Cassell desperately needs an update. But football is just as much of an arms race as basketball - maybe more since it has more potential for revenue so a better ROI. Check out the pics of Liberty's new Football hot tubs/ rehabilitation rooms, film watching facilities, and Olympic Sports Complex.
We are in less of a need for a football refresh at the time so I'm glad for the news but Football facilities are aging real quick.

Hokie Club member since 2017

And they have air conditioning. Virginia State's Multipurpose Center opened at about 6,000 seats. Our losing bid at the time for hvac/plb was $7.5M.

I'll have to ask SB Ballard at my next meeting how much the HVAC/plb cost for the JMU facility.

I'll also add sensor faucets and sensor flush valves are not cheap. In some instances, they cost more than the fixture itself.

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The other piece of this that should be noted is the additional revenue this space generates outside of basketball between concerts and other events. The facility becomes useable year round rather than three to four months a year. I love Cassell but there are definitely shortfalls with it. The Moss Art Center location was likely the last location on campus that this arena could have been built....should have been built.....imagine post-game coming out right on Main Street. Barring wiping out parking lots with Garages or placing it exceedingly far from the center of campus, there are not many places this would work.

You don't need parking next to the location. Centralized parking structures can be used for multiple things plus disperse people into central business districts. Thinking that every new structure needs associated parking is an extremely damaging fallacy, Blacksburg has more than enough parking for a basketball game.

Sorry, of all the weird things to be passionate about, I am extremely passionate about parking policy.

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

not sure the comment was that the building needs an adjacent parking lot, but that the VT philosophy for new construction over the last 10ish years has seemed to be asking "what parking lot can we eliminate to build this building?" and then doing that

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

I was reading it as any surface parking eliminated by the new facility needs to be replaced with a garage right next to the facility

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

Not really my intent but if they did eliminate a significant parking lot, its not the basketball facility that needs the parking, its the off campus student body that already faces difficulties in finding parking anywhere near their classrooms.

Student parking has been greatly reduced on campus in recent years, putting the onus on college kids to plan to ride the bus or walk a great distance to get to class 9 months of the year, especially during the lovely Blacksburg windy winters.

A new basketball arena would have events normally in the evenings, and only 100-140 events a year most likely. The footprint it would require though would be a significant land mass in terms of the campus.

So I don't want to get too far into this because I can talk about it for hours, or write 19 pages like I did in my thesis and that was cutting it short. The gist is, 90-95 percent of the time eliminated off-street parking should not be replaced and new buildings do not need associated off-street parking.

College students should not be driving to campus at non-commuter schools, especially not in a place like Blacksburg. A significant number of students doing so is a massive failure in land use and transportation infrastructure.

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

Sure, but the reality is....people are going to drive. Tech is like many others not entirely commuter/non-commuter. If Tech had enough Student Housing on campus to house all the student body, then I wouldn't have a problem with one vehicle lot that required busses to use their cars when necessary, a good distance away, to make accessing their vehicles inconvenient. Ideally all students would use the BT to get to campus but until the school creates a policy barring student vehicle lots, students are still going to drive. Land use by creating parking garages condenses this issue but creates a litany of maintenance issues not associated with flat lots. The BT though is not a very efficient bus system in terms of schedule, but is obviously impacted by the way Blacksburg is laid out as a whole.

If a new basketball facility was built, they could of course create parking decks under it, but again goes to maintenance of those facilities and challenges creating the necessary storage/use rooms for all the programs that would share it. By my count there are currently 4 primary sports that use Cassell, and possibly others that have auxiliary spaces I am not aware of. If they did build the facility it should have the ability to be transformed for ice as well to allow hockey, but also other events that use ice.

Edit: double post

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

Those look great. I honestly cringe every time a camera angle on TV shows the Big Ass Fansยฎ on the ceiling during the games. An ACC school with industrial warehouse ceiling fans is not a good look.

I have not ever been a part of or frequenter of TSL, but in the future remember that if you see something behind a paywall on another site not to repost that information here.

This may not be the case with this particular information, but just a reminder to everyone that posting paywalled info from other sites is against the community guidelines.

Alright we're a BB school again!

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."

What is the payback on the investment? Building facilities right now is a dead end, just ask the LV raiders and LA Rams how stadium/ expansions are doing financially. It would be prudent to wait and see on any facility changes unless there is maintenance needed to preserve the existing structure. Things may go back to normal, but maybe they don't, and you are stuck holding the bill. Can we defer that money for a new coach??? /s

Whit openly said back in 2017 that a 'MAJOR' renovation to Cassell was due within the next 5 years. We are still within that window.

We even had a thread about it at the time: Whit Babcock says MAJOR renovation to Cassell in 5 years

Last year, there was a follow-up when we released a study of what we were looking for in the Cassell renovation.

Expand concourse to the exterior to achieve fan experience, code compliance and operations updates goals.
Increase prominence of west elevation to be "front door" for non-student fans.
Update 2-story north portion including the lobby and exterior facade; current program square footage must be maintained.
Refresh overall building aesthetics while preserving key characteristics of the original design.

Improve concourse flow and openness to court floor.
Reduce total quantity of concessions locations and replace with fewer, but expanded locations to support a full array of concessions offerings.
Modify seating to include premium seating options, an overall reduction in seating capacity is acceptable.
A few VIP amenities.
Improved coaches' meeting room.
Replace court flooring.

Things not being considered:
Center hung video board - structural limitations and sight line limitations.
No plan to host concerts or similar events

We had a thread on this, too: Plans for Cassell

None of this is new. This has all been in the plans for a while. Anything we are going to do on the football side is not going to be impacted by this, and it would be a huge mistake to back off these plans now.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

Never thought I'd have to become an expert at AD/booster politics, urban planning, construction management, and accounting to be a fan of a college football team.