WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – UNC Wilmington fundraisers armed with new artistic renderings are visiting major donors to gauge their interest in paying for a slate of new athletics facilities that university officials say are sorely needed.
"It's a comprehensive vision that we think can provide a wow factor and more importantly meet UNCW's athletic needs for decades to come," said Athletics Director Jimmy Bass, who presented rough sketches of the possible buildings to university trustees during an external affairs committee meeting Thursday.
The plans include the construction of a Basketball Excellence Center adjacent to Trask Coliseum. The center would house locker rooms, offices and a hall of fame that would serve as a "gathering point" for guests and prospective student athletes.
The Athletics Facilities Vision also includes a 3,000-seat baseball stadium that could host regional tournaments and accommodate television broadcasters. A batting facility is also in the plan – an asset Bass said would help attract top players.
Also part of the long-term vision is a tennis complex with indoor and outdoor courts.
While it may appear the plan has UNCW swinging for the fences, the athletics director contends the plans are needed just to keep the university in the game.
"You've heard folks talk about the arms race in college athletics," Bass said. "We're not going to be in an arms race. We're trying to meet the basic needs of our student athletes. We're way behind."
Bass couldn't say how much it will cost to turn those sketches into reality, but explained public-private partnerships are also on the table – arrangements where investors would construct a building and lease it to the university.
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