For colleges and universities contemplating new or renovated sports facilities, now is the time to build! That was the conclusion of the country's leading authorities on sports venue design and construction meeting here during the Big 12 Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments.
Law firm Polsinelli Shughart PC brought together the foremost experts on building, design and construction to share industry trends and best practices with representatives of Big 12 member institutions March 11. “Keeping up with the athletic programs in your conference, let alone the rest of the country, has often been likened to an arms race,” said Kevin Sweeney, a Polsinelli Shughart Shareholder who serves as outside counsel to the Big 12 Conference.
"The Future of Collegiate Sports Facilities" featured speakers from Populous (the world's leading sports architecture firm), JE Dunn (one of the county's top building contractors) and CSL International (a leading financial advisory and planning firm). Among the timely insights shared by the panel:
- Lower construction costs brought on by the worst economy since the Great Depression makes this an ideal time to start a sports project.
- Universities are increasingly turning to alternative methods of funding sports projects, such as income from mixed-use real estate developments and endowment seating programs, or "seat mortgages."
- Sustainability, most recently a trendy design option for building owners, will likely become mandatory for public university buildings.
- Sports facilities are being designed today with young people in mind. Loaded with technology, today’s buildings will adapt and evolve as young people become adults and have families of their own.
Roy Bash, chair of Polsinelli Shughart's Construction Litigation group and moderator of the event, has noticed a disturbing trend among construction industry companies struggling to compete in today’s tough economy. "We're seeing contractors and subcontractors stretching their areas of expertise -- as well as their geographic reach -- beyond their capabilities," he said. Bash urged the administrators to develop and maintain relationships with trusted contractors to head off potential design and construction issues.
The event faculty included Algen Williams, a sports architect with Populous; Randy Bredar and Rob Clevenger, principals with JE Dunn; and Jay Lenhardt, director of CSL International.
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About Polsinelli Shughart PC
With approximately 470 attorneys, Polsinelli Shughart PC (www.polsinelli.com) is a national law firm that is a recognized leader in the areas of business litigation, financial services, real estate, business law, construction, life sciences and health care. Serving corporate, institutional and individual clients regionally, nationally and worldwide, Polsinelli Shughart is known for successfully applying forward-thinking strategies for both straightforward and complex legal matters. The firm has 13 offices located in Phoenix, Arizona; Denver, Colorado; Wilmington, Delaware; Chicago and Edwardsville, Illinois; Overland Park and Topeka, Kansas; Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield and St. Joseph, Missouri; New York City; and Washington, D.C.