May 17th 2017 | Posted in Mary Scott Nabers' Insights by Mary Scott Nabers

Who doesn’t love a great sports event? Large crowds, jubilant fans, media coverage, economic opportunities for lots of stakeholders – public officials and the public at large all find much to like!!

As a result, universities, school districts and municipalities are now spending billions on athletic facility construction projects. That’s creating an abundance of opportunities for construction, engineering and architectural firms. Additionally, technology, landscaping, equipment, legal and investment firms are also enjoying high demand for their services.

The impetus for all the athletic facility construction is simple – competition is extreme and sport fans want to frequent facilities that are easy to access, comfortable and safe. Old facilities are inefficient and costly to maintain. They lack the latest security technology, flashy scoreboards, video capabilities, easy access to amenities and state-of-the-art security.

Public-private partnerships related to athletic facilities have become attractive options because they bring capital investment in the expensive projects. But, with or without this type of collaboration, the projects are being launched throughout the U.S.

The Marshfield School District in Wisconsin has been working to secure final funding for a $10.5 million athletic facility improvement project. The project includes baseball and softball fields, a multi-sport complex and soccer and track and field expansions at one of the schools. The district hopes to get $7 million in private capital and provide the remaining $3.5 million on its own.

Penn State is also interested in launching a number of new construction projects. The university’s Facilities Master Plan calls for the construction of 11 new sports facilities and the renovation of eight current facilities. The five priority projects include renovations to soccer’s Jeffrey Field, construction of a Center of Excellence, a new indoor multi-sport practice facility, natatorium and indoor tennis courts. Work could begin as early as 2018. Penn State needs to raise at least $120 million before launching the first five projects. Plans also include upgrades to seven additional sports facilities and new construction on an All-Sports Museum, a basketball practice facility, a cross country team house, a golf clubhouse and indoor practice facility, an outdoor track and an Olympic sport training facility.

Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., is evaluating the use of a public-private partnership for a mixed-use facility at Kidd-Brewer Stadium. The new facility would replace the current Owens Field House along the north end zone of the field. An orthopedic health and training facility is one of the many uses being proposed for the new mixed-use facility.

Colby College in Maine announced in late April plans to build a $200 million state-of-the-art athletic center campus. The facility will have an Olympic-sized swimming pool as well as an indoor competition center with a 200-meter track and a 13,500-square-foot fitness center. Preparatory work will begin this summer. The college has raised $100 million of the $200 million that will be required.

The University of Vermont has plans to build an $80 million project which will include an event center. There are also plans to expand the health and wellness facility and renovate the Gutterson Fieldhouse on its Burlington campus. The new event center will host basketball games.

In May, the city of San Antonio passed an $850 million bond election. The proposition allocated $10 million for continued development of the Park West Athletics Complex. Other proposed facilities for the site include the construction of football practice fields as well as temporary locker rooms and offices for the university’s football program.

These samplings of athletic facility construction opportunities point to a robust marketplace throughout the U.S. for opportunities for public-private partnerships as well as for contracting engagements for numerous types of companies. Good news for many companies.

Mary Scott Nabers

As President and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc., Mary Scott Nabers has decades of experience working in the public-private sector. A well-recognized expert in the P3 and government contracting fields, she is often asked to share her industry insights with top publications and through professional speaking engagements.