UO President Dave Frohnmayer Approves New Arena

July 31, 2003

EUGENE -- University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer has given the go-ahead to build a new sports arena for Oregon athletics.

'I have made the decision to go forward with the arena based on my strong conviction that it will become an important facility for the health and vitality of this university, our athletic program, this community and this state,' says Frohnmayer.

The proposed arena would become home to UO men's and women's basketball, volleyball and wrestling. Preliminary plans call for accommodating 13,000 to 15,000 people for games and events, with about 1,000 club seats, 2,500 donor seats and 20 suites. The facility could host as many as 100 events a year, with up to 500,000 people attending. The feasibility report issued by a consultant in April estimates the arena could generate up to $6.6 million in additional annual net revenue for UO athletic programs.

The $90 million to $130 million project will be funded from private sources.

'We have a small group of donors, Phil and Penny Knight and Pat Kilkenny among them, absolutely committed to seeing this project completed,' says Frohnmayer. 'I'm deeply grateful to these individuals for their steadfast support.' Phil Knight is CEO, chairman and president of NIKE Inc. and Kilkenny is chairman of The Arrowhead Group.

The university is in the beginning stages of the largest fund-raising campaign for any purpose, public or private, inthe state, Frohnmayer notes.

'Its goal is to transform the university,' he says. 'Transformation requires attracting the best people and providing facilities that foster their efforts. One can see evidence of the campaign priorities in the almost completed construction of the Lillis Business Complex, the Museum of Art renovation and expansion, and the Lewis Neuroscience Center. While the campaign priorities are still being developed, they will include significant new facilities for the School of Music, the Robinson Theatre, the College of Education and, if the legislature provides matching funds, an integrated science complex. This arena is the primary campaign initiative for athletics.'

Frohnmayer lauds Mac Court as 'venerated and much loved' but notes that it has become increasingly obsolete. We are lucky to be able to replace our arena, one of the oldest sports facilities among major colleges, solely through private support.'

The project will come at the 'best possible time for the state of Oregon and Lane County,' Frohnmayer says. 'A project of this magnitude will have a tremendous economic impact by creating new jobs throughout the community and the state.'

Once construction is completed, the arena will have a continuing economic impact on the region, according to the initial feasibility study. The arena will bring at least $16 million in annual spending to the county and provide hundreds of new full- and part-time jobs, generating more than $11 million in annual payroll and $750,000 in income tax collections for the state.

The university expects to receive an evaluation of seven prospective sites from the International Facilities Group within a month. Frohnmayer expects to announce a decision on site selection this fall after reviewing the consultant's evaluation and determining the potential availability of various sites.

Construction could begin as early as next summer, with the possibility of opening the arena in fall 2006. A new nonprofit organization will be formed through the University of Oregon Foundation to expedite and facilitate the project.

'This approach will enable us to better control the costs and increase the speed with which we can complete the arena,' Frohnmayer says.

Comments from UO Athletic Officials

'I am elated with President Frohnmayer's decision to go forward with the construction of a new arena and immensely grateful to the donors who are making this possible. When completed, the arena will be a tremendous asset to the University and our community. Students, fans and players will all benefit from this project which will put Oregon's facilities among the finest in the nation.'

Bill Moos
Director of Athletics
University of Oregon

'This is a very exciting time for the University of Oregon. For us to continue our success as a program and as an athletic department, this is a very important step. It will benefit every aspect of the basketball program, and not only enhance the University as a whole, but also the entire community of Eugene. My only wish is that in constructing the new facility, we incorporate every possible aspect of Mac Court that has allowed it to be such a wonderful environment to be in as a player, coach and fan.'

Ernie Kent
Oregon Men's Basketball Coach

'Our women's basketball program is very excited about the new basketball arena. The new offices, locker rooms, and spacious playing facility will hopefully combine the best of modern day technology and architecture, with the great tradition and unique atmosphere of dear old Mac Court. These are tremendous assets for our entire athletic program and University, and as importantly, for the community of Eugene and our fans, who have been such an important and integral part of the University of Oregon's athletic success.'

Bev Smith
Oregon Women's Basketball Coach

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