An Update On The Status Of Texas Tech Athletics Facility Projects

LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 12: A general view of play between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Jones AT
LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 12: A general view of play between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Jones AT /

Michael Molina, Texas Tech Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning & Construction was on Lubbock radio this week to provide an update on numerous impending updates to the Texas Tech athletics facilities.

The world of college athletics has come to revolve around facilities.  As such, few items draw as much fan interest as the planning and construction of new athletic facilities or renovations.

Monday, Michael Molina, the Texas Tech Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning and Construction was on “Tech Talk” on Double-T 97.3 FM in Lubbock to give an update on a number of projects in the works for the Texas Tech athletic department.

South End Zone at Jones Stadium

The final portion of Jones AT&T Stadium to be renovated is the south end zone where there is currently a lounge area, a few outdated suites and of course the Double-T scoreboard.

"We have looked at about 20 different options of what [the south end zone] could be.” Molina said.  “…There’s still a lot of decisions to be made so we’re in the concept phase.  [Athletics Director] Kirby [Hocutt] …and his team needs to make some tough decisions on the percentage of seats versus suites, if there are going to be suites, what style of suites…the band is down there…how do we finesse that in there the right way to make the Jones as magical as it is today on game day?"

Perhaps no landmark on campus is more debated than the Double-T scoreboard. Many want it to remain part of the stadium while others think it is antiquated and needs to be removed. Molina weighed in on the controversial issue.

"“Celebrating our history and our heritage is important.” He said.  “Obviously the Double-T scoreboard is top priority from the Red Raider nation…The lower section is filled with concrete so plucking it and placing it back is probably not a reality given the magnitude of what we envision in that building…We’re not getting rid of the Double-T, for the record, but it might have to be rebuilt and redone.  Many people don’t realize, from an operational perspective that it takes $12,000 a year just to re-paint that for football season.  Every time it rains…you deal with electronics going out in it.”"

Rip Griffin Park

The unprecedented success of the Texas Tech baseball team under Tim Tadlock has led to an exponential rise in fan interest in the program.  As such, Rip Griffin Park needs to be expanded to accommodate more fans on game day as well as upgrading the coach’s offices and the locker rooms.  However, the stadium’s location next to the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum means that no definitive plans can be made until the fate of the Coliseum has been decided by the city of Lubbock.

"“The city is ready to take a vote to the greater Lubbock community and see if we can return that land to Texas Tech.” Molina said.  “If that happens, it will probably affect baseball’s long-term master plan.  We have definitely done several options, one first base, one third base for growth for baseball operations and the team…We are leaning towards the third base growth side [which is the side closest to Jones Stadium] for their operation and growing and building and expanding the suites down the first base and third base side…also expanding concessions..we are not replacing all the seating, which we’ve already done.  As long as the funding is there, that could start within a year.”"

Basketball Practice Facility

Lacking a designated practice facility, the Texas Tech basketball programs are trailing most of the other Big 12 programs in their facilities.  The United Supermarket Arena is not equipped to allow both basketball programs and the volleyball program to practice and share the facility in a cohesive manner.

More from Wreck'Em Red

In November, Dustin R. Womble donated $10 million for the construction of a new basketball practice and operations facility.  The new structure will be named in his honor and is going to be one of the best basketball facilities in the nation.

"“That building is not just two practice courts,” Molina said.  “it’s full trainers’ area, full workout area designed specifically for men’s and women’s basketball functionality.“The United Supermarkets Arena is a great facility but when you go down in the bowels of the building, which is where our key team locker room and energy areas are…they’er a little old school.  They needed to be upgraded to current day competitive levels.  I think this will solve all those problems.”"

Asked if the project could begin by the end of 2018, Molina was optimistic that it wold be.  But one concern with the facility, which will be in the parking lot directly to the west of the USA, is how it will impact game day parking and student parking during school hours.

"“We need to have some parity with the parking.” Molina said.  “We take one [spot] out we need to put it back.  So we’ve been working with traffic and parking…we’ve found that over by Marsha Sharp [freeway]…we can add over 200 spots.”"

Next: Elite Point Guards Square Off When Tech Faces Purdue

Molina indicated that none of the projects have a set starting date and that fundraising will dictate the timing of the start of the projects.  Texas Tech is building these facilities as philanthropic projects so as the donations allow, the projects will begin.  But it appears that over the next few years, the athletic facilities will be seeing major upgrades across campus.