FAYETTEVILLE – Razorback Athletics has met a $10 million challenge grant issued by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and has raised a total of $28.4 million for the construction of a new football center and practice facility it was announced by Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long on Thursday.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a private foundation located in Las Vegas, Nev., and has been a long-time supporter of the University of Arkansas and Razorback Athletics including providing the signature gift for the renovation and expansion of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The Foundation’s $10 million grant for the football center was designed to generate additional financial support and was contingent on the University securing the remaining funding.
"We are proud to announce that we have met the $10 million challenge set by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation for the football center,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. “We are grateful to the Reynolds Foundation for their generous gift and for using it to encourage others to step forward to help with this important facility. While we have met the Reynolds Foundation challenge and our initial goal to fund the football center, we still have work left to do in raising the funds needed to complete the entire complex including the practice facility. I am confident that as we enter the public phase of our fundraising efforts, members of the Razorback nation will help us raise the remaining private support needed to fund the entire project.”
The football center is projected to cost approximately $28 million with the full project, including the complete practice facility, estimated to be $35 million.
“We are pleased and pleasantly surprised on how quickly the Razorback faithful responded to our challenge to meet the growing needs of a program committed to competing and winning in the Southeastern Conference and nationally,” Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees Fred W. Smith said. “The vital support that has been raised will provide Razorback student-athletes with the resources they need to succeed. Just more than a decade ago, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation helped support Coach Frank Broyles in the renovation and expansion of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Today, the Reynolds Foundation is proud to be investing in the vision and leadership of Jeff Long, which we believe will result in the continued long-term success of the Arkansas Razorbacks.”
A total of $28.4 million has been raised since the challenge grant was announced in late October 2010. The total encompasses $18.4 million of private donations, including funds from the recently completed Razorback Seat Value Plan (R.S.V.P.), and $10 million from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. Naming opportunities for the facility, at various levels of support, are still available.
“I am grateful to Fred W. Smith and the Reynolds Foundation trustees for their commitment to our program,” Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino said. “The financial support they have provided is a key component in completing one of the premier football facilities in the country. The challenge being met by donors in such a short time period provides one more example of what sets the University of Arkansas apart from our peers and is a credit to the leadership of Chancellor Gearhart and Jeff Long.
“There is a reason for everything we do here and this facility will allow us to be very functional and efficient. It will also motivate future student-athletes because they will know they can have a great career here. I am confident Razorback fans everywhere will do their part to provide the support we need to complete the project and help ensure the program’s future success.”
Preliminary site work has begun on the football center that will include a new locker room, team meeting rooms, athletic training room, equipment room, a student-athlete lounge and study area, coaches’ offices, a recruiting reception area and a football museum celebrating the tradition of Razorback Football. The football center will be constructed immediately south of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium adjacent to the Walker Family Training Center. Football practice fields currently at that location would be re-located to the south side of the Walker Family Training Center.