Nebraska’s football team will soon get a state-of-the-art training facility on the grounds of the University of Nebraska. It will be connected to the preexisting Memorial Stadium, and construction is due to start next summer. The project is aptly named “Go Big.”
Bill Moos, the Nebraska Athletic Director, was the one to make the announcement, and he did so by unveiling an artist’s virtual rendition of the place. The colossal building will cover 350,000 sq ft and will be by far the largest in Nebraska and in the nation. It is expected around two years will be needed to complete it, so it should be ready to open its doors in the summer of 2022.
Scott Forst, legendary coach of the Nebraska Huskers football team, applauded the University for doing everything in its power to keep them competitive. He is also committed to getting the team to peak performance levels, but it has been rough going. Frost came to the team surfing a victorious wave, leaving his previous team in Florida with a 13–0 winning streak. The University of Nebraska is Frost’s alma mater, so everyone expected him to bring the house down in the best possible way upon his arrival. However, that didn’t happen, and Nebraska suffered three loses because of the transition. However, Frost is dedicated to turning things around and improve the team’s standing nationally, and this facility can only help that campaign.
Nebraska has slowed its roll a bit compared to the other Big Ten schools. The last time they got an update to their football program was over 13 years ago, with construction of the Tom and Nancy Osborne center. All the other schools got new facilities or have projects underway, due to be completed. University officials say it’s about time Nebraska caught up and stepped up its game. All this is in the effort to bounce back after many disappointing football seasons.
Nebraska’s Head Volleyball Coach, J. Cook, spoke up as well, pointing out what a great idea it is to dream big. Back in 2013, the state had renovated the Devaney Center, and it turned everything around for the fledgling volleyball team. More people attended games, recruiters came in larger numbers, and it changed everything for college volleyball in the state. The volleyball team has gone on to compete in the Final Fours for times in a row, and won two national championships. The “Go Big” project is just what the athletics department needed at this time, he claimed, volleyball and football players alike.
Coaches Devaney and Osborne have stadiums named after them for a reason, because they innovated while working in college athletics. Moos said that Nebraska now wants to take that torch and run with it, and once again be a national sports leader. He went on to say that this expansion is being created precisely for that reason — to restore the team’s standing in the seasons to come. Not only does the state want to be a leader in training facilities, but also to keep producing football champions. It’s an investment in the future, and the team will once more have a powerhouse-of-football reputation, Moos concluded.
“Go Big” will be connected to the Stadium via vertical transportation, so they can go in and out easily and in style. The fans will have a high tech, exciting experience and will be expected to show up in droves.
But the facility is primarily for the student-athletes, and all 600 or so of them are expected to reap benefits from the project. The idea is to provide them with the most comprehensive experience possible. They will have brand-new training tables, locker rooms, equipment, and meeting rooms. A strength and conditioning center will be right next to an outdoor practice area and a medical facility for athletes. The facility will, naturally, include coach offices as well as academic support offices for all student-athletes, for all 24 sports represented at the university. An outdoor track stadium will also be built north of the Devaney Center. The current facilities have only been able to host 125 players at a time. Currently, there are over 150 student-athletes in the 2019 Nebraska roster. It’s a tight squeeze, and more lockers, medical halls, weight rooms, and meeting spaces are sorely needed.
The Athletic Department of Nebraska is going to raise around $100 million for “Go Big” from private donors. They are one of the few departments in the country that do not receive money from the state or some students fees; rather, they give money to the University fund. Annually, this amounts to $10 million to the general fund and $5 million in scholarship money for non-student athletes.
The rest of the funds needed is expected to come from the trust funds related to the University, as well as bonds. Moss said that they have already raised a decent portion — between 35% and 40% has already trickled in from donors.
Nebraska Athletics’ has already done a lot to up their game, apart from renovating the volleyball center. They’ve gone into partnership with Lincoln city so that the Nebraska basketball team can compete in one of their top-notch arenas. The tennis as well as soccer programs also got upgrades, and the women’s gymnastics team will get an updated facility soon as well.
Still, there’s nothing like the flagship campus’ project “Go Big”… or go home, we may add.