Work begins on old Manogue property

Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal A car drives past the site of the previous Manouge property near the Nellor Biomedical Sciences Building Thursday evening at the University of Nevada, Reno. 6/1/06

Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal A car drives past the site of the previous Manouge property near the Nellor Biomedical Sciences Building Thursday evening at the University of Nevada, Reno. 6/1/06

RENO - When the University of Nevada bought the old Bishop Manogue property more than a ago, it planned to house three women's sports at the new facility - softball, track and field and soccer.

Rising construction costs in Northern Nevada and rising material costs have forced Nevada athletic department officials to revamp their plans for the new facility.

Opening bids on the project, which once had a $4.2 million price tag, are scheduled for June 8, accoding to Keith Hackett, Nevada's associate athletic director for facilities.

Here is a rundown on what the new project will entail:

• A 500-seat softball stadium - 300 chair-type seats and 200 bleacher seats. The softball field will have a natural grass surface in the outfield and outside batting cages. A permanent snackbar, restrooms and press box also will be included. There are plans to hopefully build an indoor batting/pitching facility, which is what the baseball team has at Peccole Park, and expand the stadium at a later date.

• A practice area for all field event athletes - pole vault, long jump, triple jump, high jump, shot put, discus, hammer and javelin. Also, a 600-meter track is being built, which track and cross country athletes can use.

Original plans called for an entire track facility to be built, which would enable Nevada to host meets during the outdoor season.

• Original plans called for a soccer field to be built on the Manogue property, but instead the women's soccer team will play its games at Wolf Pack Park where the football team currently practices. According to Hackett, the school will install stands and a press box at Wolf Pack Park.

Hackett said the plans are to have the Nevada softball team in its new home by the 2007 season (next spring). Construction is set to start in July.

"A lot of it (delays etc.) has to do with the cost of raw materials," Hackett said. "The price for steel and aluminum are up. The availability has diminished since Hurricane Katrina. If we had $2.2 million more, we could do everything we wanted to do."

Nevada softball coach Michelle Gardner, whose softball team made the NCAA tournament this year for the first time in school history, is excited about the prospect.

"I knew it would happen, it was just a matter of when," she said. "I'm very excited. It will help in recruiting; will help in a lot of different areas.

"We may practice in the fall at Idlewild, but I don't believe we will be there for very long. At least we would have the infield done so we can practice."

The outfield will be natural grass and not field turf. Gardner said she didn't believe that field turf would be a viable option, given the cost.

Because of financial reasons, the softball complex will not have lights, though that is something that could change in the future.

Hackett is hopeful that Nevada would be able to at least host a Western Athletic Conference tournament, and even an NCAA Regional. He thinks lights may be mandatory for the latter event.

The new plans means that Nevada's women's outdoor track team will continue to have to travel for meets. Because of the south grandstand at Mackay Stadium, which covers a good portion of the track, Nevada can't host meets.

Hackett indicated there have been talks about fixing that problem.

"In the future, the south grandstand could disappear," Hackett said. "We would then be able to have home track meets."

Eventually, he thinks that Mackay could be a horshoe shape with the south end open. He also admitted 7,500 seats, which is approximately what the south grandstand hold, could be hard to replace (in number).

Hackett reiterated that all of these ideas are only in the talking stage and that there are no official proposals on the table.


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