CLEMSON — Someday, all of Clemson’s daily football business and meetings will take place in one spot.
That day is yet to be determined.
Clemson’s board of trustees has offered pre-approval to the concept of a brand new football operations building which is estimated to cost $30 million and span between 60,000 and 80,000 square feet. It would be located right next to the university’s months-old indoor practice building.
Currently, the team’s weight room, training room, equipment room, player and coach locker rooms, coaches’ offices and team meetings rooms are located in the WestZone, connected to Memorial Stadium.
The team has to ride truck-pulled trams across Perimeter Road to practice each day, a time-consuming process which head coach Dabo Swinney has said he’d like to remove.
While Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich is pleased that new building is on the horizon, he doesn’t know when construction will begin.
“The football program right now is in a very good facility. The urgency is not there,” Radkaovich said Tuesday in a press conference. “But as we move forward in seeing what’s next within keeping our football program at the elite level, this was the next step to consolidate all of that. That’s why we’re going to take this process, study it, make sure we do the right things associated with the football program going forward. We’ll take our time moving forward through it and making it a great project.”
Radakovich made his first public statements in a group setting Tuesday to announce the approved athletic department facility upgrades. On Oct. 18, Radakovich sat down with The Post and Courier to discuss plans to rebuild Littlejohn Coliseum — which will displace the men’s and women’s basketball programs for the 2015-16 season — and other board signoffs going into effect that day.
Final approval has been granted for a baseball player development amenities facility down the first-base line at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, to begin construction next summer. Also, the WestZone will be scaled down to include a pedestrian bridge connecting the north and south lower bowls, alleviating foot traffic for fans on gameday, and have a vertical Oculus piece built as a signature architectural piece on the side of Memorial Stadium.
Radakovich is referring to “the new basketball arena” rather than Littlejohn Coliseum, indicating a name change could be in the works, though nothing has been announced.
The Post and Courier reported Oct. 18 that the 45-year-old arena will not be replaced by a brand new building, but Clemson is preparing to spend between $60 and $80 million to spice up Littlejohn Coliseum with new seating areas, lighting, video boards, wireless connectivity on mobile devices and more.
“The biggest question I’ve received is, what is a rebuild? A rebuild is much, much more than a renovation or a remodel,” Radakovich said. “The roof will stay in place. The four walls will stay in place, and the concourse will stay in place. Pretty much everything else will be redone.
“If you stood at midcourt inside Littlejohn Coliseum today and looked around, and you stood at midcourt of the rebuilt facility, you will feel like you’re in two different buildings. That’s really our goal.”
Down the road, considerations are ongoing to build a public museum with Clemson memorabilia between the new basketball arena and Doug Kingsmore Stadium.