FAYETTEVILLE — The construction of the future home of Razorback Football is officially underway after University administrators, coaches, student-athletes, donors and fans gathered on Friday afternoon for the official groundbreaking of the new football center.
Chancellor G. David Gearhart, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Trustee Chairman Fred W. Smith and Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino, donors and fans joined Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long at the ceremony held on the current practice fields south of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
"To break ground just a little more than a year from when we received the challenge grant from the Reynolds Foundation is a remarkable time schedule." Long said. "We are really excited about that. It is needed for our program. It is needed for Coach Petrino and our coaches. It will help us continue to build our program."
Voice of the Razorbacks Chuck Barrett emceed the ceremony which included remarks from Gearhart, Long, Smith, Petrino and Razorback football student-athlete Kelvin Fisher. Following the official program, the speakers joined other University representatives with shovels for the ceremonial groundbreaking.
"Just more than a decade ago, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation helped support Coach Frank Broyles in the renovation and expansion of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium," Smith said. "The Reynolds Foundation is proud to be investing in the vision and leadership of Jeff Long, which we believe will result in the continued long-term success of the Arkansas Razorbacks."
The $28 million football center will include a new locker room, team meeting rooms, athletic training room, equipment room, a student-athlete lounge and study area, coaches' offices, a recruiting reception area and a football museum celebrating the tradition of Razorback Football. The football center is being constructed immediately south of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium adjacent to the Walker Family Training Center.
Football practice fields currently at that location will be re-located to the south side of the Walker Family Training Center. The football center and full practice facility is estimated to cost $35 million. More than $30 million has been raised for the project including a $10 million gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation as part of a challenge grant.
"There is a reason for everything we do here and this facility will allow us to be very functional and efficient," Petrino said. "It will also motivate future student-athletes because they will know they can have a great career here. I am confident Razorback fans everywhere will do their part to provide the support we need to complete the project and help ensure the program's future success."
Football Center Timeline
Oct. 27, 2010
Athletic Director Jeff Long announces plans to build a football center south of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium
Long announces $10 million challenge grant issued by Donald W. Reynolds Foundation
Jan. 28, 2011
University of Arkansas Board of Trustees approve intent to issue bonds to finance the construction of the Football Center
Aug. 18, 2011
Razorback Athletics announces it has met Reynolds Challenge Grant and has raised $28.4 million for Football Center and practice facility
Arkansas begins the public phase of fundraising for Football Center
Aug. 19, 2011
Athletic Jeff Long announces that the official groundbreaking ceremony will be Nov. 4, 2011
Nov. 4, 2011
Groundbreaking for Football Center
Completion of Football Center