By wading into the competition for nicer athletic facilities, Vanderbilt officials hope to increase their athletic teams’ ability to compete on the field.
Details of a $50 million, five-phase plan for upgrading Vanderbilt Stadium, Memorial Gym and Hawkins Field over the next five years will be announced at a news conference today.
Some construction is already underway.
“I think it’s very exciting and an opportune time to make these investments,” Vanderbilt Chancellor Nick Zeppos said. “We’re performing at very high levels, competing in the best conference, competing nationally, with outstanding students, and these are necessary and will make us even more competitive.”
School officials are banking that the ability to show tangible examples of their commitment to athletics will allow the Commodores to be more attractive to prospective student-athletes as well as coaches. But they don’t intend to go dollar-for-dollar against the powers of the Southeastern Conference.
“I think the intent is to strike a balance,” said John Ingram, athletic chairman of the school’s board of trust. “The opportunity Vanderbilt has is to be competitive with things like athletic facilities and be more than competitive with academic opportunity on top of that.”