BC announces $200 million in facility upgrades

BOSTON (AP) Boston College has announced plans for $200 million in athletics facilities upgrades including a new field house and indoor practice facility that would bring its football facilities on par with other schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The upgrades, which will benefit both the intercollegiate and intramural programs, will also include a new general use recreation center and playing fields.

Athletic director Brad Bates announced the plans Monday.

The projects are the result of several years of fundraising. The indoor facility is being funded through private gifts.

The athletics field house would be located next to Alumni Stadium, and include the football indoor practice facility. Talks are expected to begin with city officials regarding construction plans. Once approved, field house construction will take eight to 12 months.

Bates said the projects will help create an ''impressive and unique'' opportunity for potential recruits.

''When you put a package together that encompasses the facilities, the diploma, the coaches, the types of students that we have on this campus, the city of Boston - I think we're putting together a pretty strong package,'' Bates said. ''The facility is one big part of it, but it encompasses a lot of different elements.''

The 240,000 square-foot recreation center will replace the Flynn Recreation Complex. The school also will be seeking permitting for new baseball, softball and intramural fields.

All of those projects were already approved in 2009 as part of the university's master plan. They are set to begin this summer once permits are approved. Construction on those projects expected to take two years.

Bates said the scope of baseball and softball fields will depend on how much is raised through ongoing fundraising.

BC joins a growing trend among ACC schools with its indoor practice facility plan.

The majority of schools in the ACC either already has indoor facilities for football, or is in the process of building them.

Schools that fit into that category over the past two years include N.C. State, North Carolina, Syracuse and Virginia Tech.

BC currently uses an inflatable bubble to combat inclement weather during the winter, but a permanent indoor facility will benefit the program year round. It will also allow it to practice at night.

''This announcement represents a commitment from Boston College to give our students the best facilities possible,'' Eagles football coach Steve Addazio said.

But Bates said that the priority with all of these projects was more about maximizing the development of the students, than simply keeping up with the rest of the conference.

''This definitely gives us more opportunities to develop students that are in our varsity field sports,'' he said. ''We have a lot of assets that are inherent to Boston College.''

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Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower

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This story has been corrected to show that Boston College is part of the Atlantic Coast Conference, not the Athletic Coast Conference.

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