It’s finally here, and well-worth the wait

The master vision was unveiled Tuesday, May 23rd at 2pm ET, and it’s Mike Hill’s magnum opus. The plan spans 12-15 years, and in my opinion, we’ll likely see another plan before all items on this are completed. It’s also worth-noting that the University is working on a revised master plan that should be ready in 2024 (preliminary stages as of now). All images in this post are from the full master vision plan via Charlotte 49ers Athletics.

Official master vision release

EVERGREEN Facilities Master Vision page

Full Master Vision PDF

This plan will have multiple phases, so lets jump into the most pressing items. Charlotte Director of Athletics Mike Hill has mentioned all are priorities, and timelines can move up if/when funds are there to begin those projects. We’ll go ahead and look at Phase 1 items first, including the most anticipated project, Jerry Richardson Stadium expansion.

Jerry Richardson Stadium

There was some initial confusing for myself on “Phase 1” for Jerry Richardson Stadium. As you can se below there is a Phase 1, Phase 1a, Phase 2, and Phase 3. Being transparent here, Phase 3 is likely a long ways away unless the program just goes gangbusters like UCF did. No pressure Coach Healy.

I wanted to provide some information about Phases 1, 1a and 2, those all combined total the $81.3 million. Mike Hill was on the radio this week and mentioned that they’d prefer to go straight to 30k seats. That’s ambitious, but I don’t see someone as calculated as him mentioning that without a very solid fundraising foundation in their hands.

It may have been the Charlotte Business Journal that mentioned this, but the expansion to 30k could happen over 2.5 years. I will happily deal with construction during the season to have this put into place as soon as possible.

A part of Phase 1 not in the pictures above is the new West entry. This, to me, is one of the most exiciting parts of expansion, it will drastically change one of the main entry points into the stadium.

There’s some amazing amenities inside this tower as well, suites and multiple club levels (read that plenty of revenue streams).

A huge benefit, aside from a fans game day experience, will be the benefit this provides the staff on the the recruiting trail. There are no doubts that the stadium size has been used against us when chasing recruits. The feel of the stadium when you bring in recruits and show a modern/new facility will certainly be a boost.

That said, there’s another program changer is on the docket, an indoor practice facility. And not some half-done open-air concept, it’s a bonafide IPF. While no ETA, it’s clear that we’re intending to compete in the arms race, and aren’t just happy to be here. We’re looking to provide the program with what they need to compete for AAC championships.

Do you know someone, or a business, looking to make an impact locally?

Be sure to get these naming opportunities in front of them.

These opportunities can give Charlotte admin up to $31,050,000 in potential revenue.

Questions I have stemming from the football plans:
  • Is a new video board included in expansion?
  • No naming opportunity for the new tower?
  • How quickly could we start the project? Dec 2022?
  • Any plans for a team store?
  • Any plans to handled increase cellular/wi-fi demands?

Baseball & Softball Clubhouses

These clubhouses are both part of Phase 1 as well. Both programs are growing, from roster standpoint (carrying more players than predecessors if I’m not mistaken), and growing on the field. Recently both programs were provided indoor training facilities, but they are still limited in terms of office, support and locker room space. These clubhouses will alleviate those issues.

Both Baseball & Softball also have naming opportunities

Softball has $500,000 in naming opportunities remaining.

Baseball has $4,475,000 remaining.

In addition to the clubhouses, both programs have expansions plans as well, with the softball’s actually re-orienting the stadium. These are not currently Phase 1 projects.

 I look for both of these projects to put CLT int he position to host regionals and super regionals in the future.

Soccer & Lacrosse Stadium

Soccer has been playing at Irwin Belk for quite some time, but that facility is crowded with multiple programs using it. With top-flight soccer programs, and the kick-start of Women’s Lacrosse here, a facility that can provide a dedicated playing surface, with the necessary locker rooms space/upgrades, offices and more is a crucial need.

As of now Soccer, Softball and Baseball are all leveraging Well Fargo Fieldhouse, but with the clubhouses being added for Softball and Baseball, that will help some of the space constraints. The fieldhouse will be apart of a future phase and expanded to more than double the usable square footage, and provide room for additional expansion if needed down the line.

Mike Hill has mentioned that Women’s Lacrosse will being play in 2024, and that will begin at Jerry Richardson Stadium.

You guessed it, more naming opportunities

Currently there is $6,825,000 in naming opportunities for this upcoming venue.

Basketball locker rooms + Judy Rose Football Center enhancements

Enhance to Football locker rooms have already been implemented thanks to anonymous donation of over $1,000,000. Both Men’s and Women’s basketball programs will be seeing locker room upgrades as well in the near future as they are also included in the $102 million Phase 1.

Phase 2 (and beyond) items that we haven’t covered yet

Every program that Charlotte fields will be impacted by this plan, expect for Golf, who recently had updates to their facilities. Fans have long-discussed Halton Arena and the needs there to evolve the gameday experience. We’ve mentioned the locker room updates that will be in Phase 1 for Basketball, but there are some pretty impressive updates planned for Halton and a new facility to house practice courts (1 for men’s and 1 for women’s), student academic center (beyond just basketball), student dining and a relocation of athletic offices.

Let’s talk Halton Arena updates, there will be a new west entry, new ticket office location, premium seating and new fan services & seating. The key here is the addition of premium seating, that will afford the program an opportunity for increased revenue streams (notice a theme there?). Also, if I’m understanding this correctly, the Miltimore-Wallis Athletic Center would become a dedicated volleyball training spot, instead of this being shared with MBB, WBB & VB.

Somewhere Ghost of CLT is trolling an opposing fanbase with this one. The Halton-Wagner Tennis complex enhancements would include converting half the existing courts into an indoor practice facility.

The Irwin Belk Track and Field Center will also receive enhancements for team office space expansion, as well as team lockers & event storage.

Come talk about this vision plan with your fellow Niners on Discord