As temperatures have climbed to thaw swaths of earth once buried by a season’s worth of snow, the University of Montana draws closer and closer to breaking ground on the latest jewel of its athletics department. But not too close. Montana is still about six weeks from starting construction on the Washington-Grizzly Champions Center, athletic director Kent Haslam said Wednesday. The school is nearing the final preparations with contractors currently bidding for the project.
“We expect those bids to be back by early March,” Haslam said. “Then we’ll select a contractor with the goal for construction fences going up in early April, probably around spring break.” Montana’s academic calendar shows spring break as the week of April 4-8.
The privately-funded $14-million project, approved by the state Board of Regents in November 2014, will house new locker rooms for the football team, as well as expansive team meeting spaces and a massive strength-and-conditioning center for use by all student-athletes. The center, designed by Missoula-based CTA Architects Engineers, will cover 46,000 square feet.
Athletes will never be without their resources and may continue to use the current – albeit outdated – facilities within the Adams Center. The Champions Center is still expected to be completed in time for the 2017 football season. The Grizzlies open that year on Sept. 2 at home against Valparaiso.
CTA PROJECT MANAGER TONY HOUTZ:
“We can not wait to see this project start coming out of the ground! The Champions Center is a testament to the vision of the University of Montana for its student-athletes and a tribute to community partnerships; not merely for what the project is, but how and why it came to be.
As designers, we certainly look forward to seeing the building realized; as architects, we look forward to seeing the spaces inhabited and integrating into the culture of the student-athlete and the campus in general; as fans, we look forward to the Champions Center contributing to success on the court, on the track, on the course, and on the field.”