MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The University of Minnesota's ambitious athletic facilities upgrade is underway.

Gophers boosters, officials and athletes gathered Friday for a formal groundbreaking on the $166 million enterprise, which is highlighted by new practice and training space for the football and basketball programs.

Retired football coach Jerry Kill was a leading fundraiser for the project. About half of the money, all from private donations, has been committed.

Board of Regents chairman Dean Johnson said the goal for completion of the complex, called the Athletes Village, is sometime in 2017.

The Athletes Village will provide Gopher student-athletes with a variety of updated resources. The central piece of the project is the Land O'Lakes Center for Excellence, which will house new academic, nutrition and leadership centers. This new structure will provide significantly more space for all Gopher student-athletes, more than doubling the size of the current academic center, transforming on-campus student-athlete development opportunities, and providing Gopher Athletics' first centralized training table to feed all student-athletes and host nutrition programs.

In addition, the new Basketball Development Center, Football Indoor Practice Facility and Football Performance Center will expand available practice and training space for those programs, while also opening space in existing buildings - the Bierman Field Athletic Building and the Gibson-Nagurski complex. These buildings will be renovated to provide more practice space, meeting rooms and offices for many other Gopher programs and student-athletes, ultimately having a direct, positive impact on every Gopher program.

For more details on the Athletes Village, please visit NothingShortOfGreatness.

 

All 25 varsity teams will share the Land O'Lakes Center for Excellence, a new space for athletes to study, network, relax and eat.