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Rebels athletics:

UNLV will seek loan to complete funding for football facility

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UNLV

An artist’s rendering of the UNLV football training facility that will be known as the Fertitta Football Complex.

UNLV will ask the Nevada Board of Regents to approve a plan that would allow the university to take out a loan to fund the majority of construction costs for the school’s new football practice facility.

An item on the agenda for Thursday’s regent meeting details UNLV’s quest to complete funding for the Fertitta Football Complex, an on-campus training facility to be built next to the Rebel Park practice fields.

The project is expected to cost $22.25 million, but only $18.24 million has been raised, according to the meeting backup material. And only $6.4 million of that has actually been donated; $11.84 million has been pledged but not paid yet. UNLV’s plan would see the school seek out a loan of $15.95 million in order to reach its goal for green-lighting construction.

The proposal may receive a mixed response from the regents. Trevor Hayes, the chairman of the Business Finance and Facilities committee, which will hear UNLV's presentation on Thursday, said UNLV's arrangement is "unusual."

"It is typically not the way facilities are financed," Hayes said. "The committee will certainly look closely at this venture, because it's not a traditional means of financing projects on campus. We'll have a lot of questions about financing and how they propose to pay it off."

Another regent, who is not a voting member of the committee, said it’s not that uncommon for projects to be funded in this manner.

The complex was announced last September when the Fertitta family pledged $10 million, and the initial groundbreaking date was set for the spring of 2017. No work has been done on the site yet.

UNLV’s proposal, which would require regent approval, would see the school pay back the loan with pledged money within five years. If there is a shortfall after five years, UNLV would use “an allocation from campus investment income funds” to retire the loan.

A spokesman for UNLV Athletic Director Desiree Reed-Francois said she would wait until after the meeting before commenting on the project.

In addition to construction costs, the practice facility will also cost an estimated $6.25 million to furnish, bringing the total to $28.5 million. Plans call for a 73,000-square-foot, two-level complex with amenities such as a 9,000-square-foot weight-lifting area, a full kitchen, study areas, coaches’ offices and locker rooms.

According to the agenda item, UNLV expects money from outside donors to eventually cover the full cost of the facility. Some gifts are spread out over a multi-year period, which accounts for some of the discrepancy between pledged donations and UNLV’s cash in hand.

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.

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