SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Washington State University Board of Regents today approved construction of a $61 million football operations building adjacent to Martin Stadium on the Pullman campus, citing the importance of the health and safety of student athletes and the ability to be competitive in the Pacific-12 Conference.
The football program's new home at the west end of the statdium will include new weight, locker, equipment and training rooms for players, as well as meeting rooms and coaches' offices.
The structure will be funded with a combination of money saved in the remodeling of the south side of the stadium last year and $46 million in general revenue bonds.
Payments on the bond issue will be covered entirely with funds from WSU's involvement in the Pac-12 Conference, specifically revenue from the media contract and the new Pac-12 Television Network.
WSU Regent Ron Sims said he considers the building critical to keeping student athletes healthy.
"Football is not just a contact sport, it is a violent, physical sport," he said. "As a parent, if my child is going to compete in intercollegiate athletics, I want a facility where we are able to maximize his strength, stamina, recovery, flexibility, every aspect of his well-being."
Regent Ted Baseler said the new facility will help to bring WSU facilities in line with other programs in the Pac-12.
"From our university perspective, it is important to have a top-notch facility, and it is clear that it will be a recruiting advantage," Baseler said.
It will also feature a WSU football heritage area and a game-day home for Gray W former letter winners.
Construction is expected to begin spring 2013. The building's completion will free up a substantial amount of space in Bohler Gym for team members of other intercollegiate athletics teams.
In other business, the board also approved the construction of a new WSU Visitor Center in Pullman. The 4,000-square-foot facility -- on the corner of Main and Spring streets in downtown Pullman -- will being funded primarily with private investments.