Penn State Board to Vote on $48.3 Million in Football Upgrades

Penn State says the Lasch Football Building plan seeks "to meet the needs of the football program for the next 20 years."
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Penn State's Board of Trustees will vote Friday on a renovation plan for the Lasch Football Building that is budgeted at $48.3 million.

The plan, outlined in the February board agenda, includes an 18,000-square-foot expansion to the weight room, a new 7,400-square-foot lobby entrance and a suite housing a life-skills program designed to help players transition through their careers.

The board's Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning voted 10-1 to send the proposal to the full board. Committee member Anthony Lubrano voted no.

"I think the timing for this is wrong, given all the unknowns we have, especially this upcoming season," Lubrano said.

The full board will vote during its meeting Friday, which begins at 1 p.m. and can be viewed at WPSU.org./trustees.

The renovations continue a multi-phased plan Penn State commissioned in 2014 to upgrade the Lasch Building, the football program's home since 1999.

According to the proposal, Phase 1 of the renovation "will address functional and programmatic requirements to improve the functionality of the facility to meet the needs of the football program for the next twenty years and advance Penn State’s mission as a premier educational institution with a competitive athletics program."

Penn State's board in 2019 approved design firm HOK of Philadelphia to lead the renovation plan. The board approved a budget of $69 million for the project, which was scheduled to take place over several years.

According to a 2019 Penn State release, the project will be privately funded through donations.

Work scheduled for this phase of the renovation includes strength and conditioning improvements, a new hydrotherapy pool and sports medicine upgrades, including a portable X-ray machine.

The plan also calls for creating a space to house the "5th Quarter Program." This "development suite" is designed to help athletes "transition from high school to college and college to professional ranks through life skills and education programs."

In 2019, Penn State's board approved plans for upgrades to the Holuba Hall indoor practice facility and the team's outdoor football fields. Penn State has made various upgrades to the Lasch Building since 2015, including renovations to the locker room and other player facilities.

"The renovations already completed in Lasch Building have played a critical role in helping develop our student-athletes and build one of the top football programs in the nation," Penn State coach James Franklin said in 2019. "To sustain and strengthen our successes, we need to keep investing to give our students and staff all the tools they need for us to win at the very highest level, on and off the field."

Athletics Director Sandy Barbour said recently that some projects of the 2018 Facilities Master Plan have been paused because of the pandemic.

"Those [athletic budget] reserves that we were hoping maybe to seed some of these projects will now go to keep our deficit low," Barbour said.

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