Edinburg: UTRGV Athletics Set to Invest $30 Million in Facilities Enhancements
Feature Illustration: Rendering of the UTRGV Fieldhouse by UTRGV Athletics.
Edinburg (Hidalgo County) – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced on Wednesday an investment of $30 million to upgrade existing athletics facilities that will impact all current 16 sports over the next three years, including enhancements to the UTRGV Fieldhouse, UTRGV Soccer and Track & Field Complex, Orville Cox Tennis Center, UTRGV Baseball Stadium and weight room, and the building of a new golf facility at McAllen’s Champion Lakes Golf Course.
UTRGV Vice President and Director of Athletics Chasse Conque said the project will be funded by increased revenue streams, such as fundraising and increased ticket sales, that the athletics department has been fortunate to generate in recent years. Per state law, neither tuition dollars nor state appropriations may be used to support the UTRGV athletics department.
“The commitment to athletics at UTRGV is tremendous,” Conque said. “These enhanced facilities and the growth of our region and university sets the stages for us to have success in recruiting and retaining top-notch student-athletes and coaches that will help us #RISEup in the Western Athletic Conference.”
The first round of renovations is already underway, as a new weight room is being constructed in the same building as the UTRGV Fieldhouse.
Future renovations to the area around the fieldhouse include a new practice gym for the basketball and volleyball teams. Additionally, the fieldhouse itself, the university’s largest multi-purpose facility that houses basketball, volleyball, and campus and community events, will be renovated to now include:
a new 15,000-square foot entrance plaza/atrium;
a new lobby including a Hall of Fame and Hall of Honor area;
a new, unique way to watch games;
new ribbon and video boards;
and new seating.
Renovations to the UTRGV Soccer and Track & Field Complex are also underway, as a new press box will be installed prior to the start of the 2022 soccer seasons. UTRGV is also installing a new sound system to upgrade the student-athlete and fan experience.
Construction on an operations center for the soccer and track & field programs will begin soon, with new locker rooms and coaches’ offices as well as a new sports medicine facility for those programs.
Last year, UTRGV Athletics resurfaced the courts at the Orville Cox Tennis Center. Now UTRGV is planning to expand the footprint of the facility by building new locker rooms, coaches offices, public restrooms, a sports medicine area, and a concession stand. The renovations also include a new entrance.
UTRGV has already begun upgrades to the UTRGV Baseball Stadium, including the recent addition of five corrals and renovation of the 10 suites. Additional maintenance to keep the friendly confines of UTRGV Baseball Stadium, which was built in 2000, in top shape will be completed as well.
UTRGV Athletics plans to build a golf facility next to the driving range at Champion Lakes Golf Course, pending UT System Board of Regents approval, that will include locker rooms, coaches’ offices, and hitting bays.
“What’s happening in athletics helps to support the university’s goal of creating a more vibrant campus life for all our students,” UTRGV President Guy Bailey said. “We want our students to engage with athletics. We want them going to games. We want them here on campus. We want this to be a central part of their lives. We want them to graduate with very little debt. We want them to stay in the Rio Grande Valley. Think about what a great place we can create by working together. That’s what this is all about.”
“I have long said that if we’re going to expand our sports offerings, the first thing we need to address is taking care of our existing programs,” Conque added. “We have been planning these projects for nearly two years and we are excited to start getting shovels in the ground as we #RallyTheValley by upgrading our student-athlete and fan experience with improved venues to watch us compete for years to come.”
Art Benavidez (Construction News Reporter, East Texas) is a seasoned journalist with over 15-years of experience in writing breaking news and in-depth features at the local level. He honed his research and reporting skills in newspapers and magazines throughout South and West Texas along with expertise in crafting digital content as Managing Editor of New Image Marketing Research Corporation. Benevidez is a Texas native and graduate of UTRGV.