NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt has announced plans to build an indoor practice facility for their football team. The facility will function as a multi-use facility for the entire university.
Vice Chancellor for University Affairs and Athletics David Williams made the announcement at a press conference Friday afternoon.
Williams said university officials have already begun the process to identify a location for the all-purpose facility. They expect to go to the board with more concrete plans in April 2012.
Construction will begin as soon as plans are approved. The location of the facility has not yet been determined.
The facility will open no later than the beginning of the 2014 football season. It will feature artificial turf, a track around the outside, and will be an extension to Vanderbilt's recreation center.
Vanderbilt leaders have been criticized in the past for moving slowly to make improvements and invest in the football program.
"We have basically changed direction at this University," said Williams. "The thing to celebrate, is the thing that was in the way, ain't in the way anymore."
Williams said by next season, the stadium will undergo renovations including a new JumboTron, new turf, press box, concessions areas and bathrooms. Additional improvements will be made as determined.
When asked the amount the university expected to spend on the improvements, Williams said, "Whatever it cost."
Also announced were plans to renovate the coaches' locker room, a meeting and classroom for 141 people and new locker rooms for Olympic sports. The Hendrix Room at the McGugin Center will also be expanded with a full service kitchen for all student athletes, including football players.
It was also officially announced that first-year head coach James Franklin's contract has been renegotiated. Williams said Franklin was offered an increase and additional years. Details were not announced.
Franklin lead Vanderbilt to a 6-6 record overall in and 2-6 in the Southeastern Conference.
Vanderbilt became bowl-eligible with their 41-7 win over Wake Forest on Saturday.
With their sixth win and overall .500 record, the Commodores have earned a trip to their fifth bowl game in school history – and second game since the 2008 Music City Bowl.
The exact bowl has not been determined, but an official invitation will come after the BCS bowls are announced Sunday after the SEC Championship game. With a win, LSU would likely play for the National Championship – possibly in a rematch against Alabama.
The ‘Dores are expected to get an invitation to either play a C-USA team in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, or an ACC team in the Music City Bowl at LP Field in Nashville. The selection depends on how many SEC teams are selected to play in BCS games.
Vandy fans can attend a bowl selection viewing party at the Student Life Center on campus beginning at 6:30 p.m. The event is free.
The Commodores are 2-1-1 in bowl games.