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Yurachek presents possible Bud Walton renovation to board of trustees

The presentation said that advertisement for an architect and general contractor for the possible renovations would begin as early as this month.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The University of Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek presented a plan to renovate Bud Walton Arena to the university's board of trustees on Tuesday.

The presentation's intention was to only pitch three renovation options and to inform the board that UA Athletics is initiating a study on those concepts.

Kevin Trainor, the spokesperson for the athletic program, said the renderings shown in the presentation are "conceptual only and no decisions have been made on types or locations of seating etc."

Credit: Arkansas Athletics
U of A Board of Trustees presentation (March 14) Source: Arkansas Athletics

Yurachek presented three scenarios:

  1. Deferred maintenance
  2. Deferred maintenance and the addition of premium space additions
  3. Deferred maintenance, the addition of premium space additions and back-of-house renovation and expansion

According to the presentation, deferred maintenance alone would cost $44 million, including roof, HVAC, seats/seating bowl, concessions, restrooms and more.

The second option would include the maintenance, and the expansion of premium space options including a club level, loge boxes, upper concourse suites, courtside bunker suites and baseline-to-baseline student seating.

The third scenario would include options one and two, plus the addition of the expansion and renovation of the back-of-house to accommodate multi-use events.

The presentation also included details of a capital campaign goal of $125 million.

This goal includes: 

  • $40 million football stadium naming opportunity
  • $35 million Bud Walton Arena naming opportunity
  • $10 million soccer stadium naming opportunity
  • $10 million softball stadium naming opportunity
  • $30 million for miscellaneous opportunities

Preliminary financing scenarios include a $50 million athletic department bond issue for the first option, the bond plus $25 million in gift commitments to cover the second option and the bond, gifts and an additional $25 million in third-party partnerships to cover the scenario that includes all three.

Projected Timeline Overview

The presentation said that advertisement for an architect and general contractor would begin as early as this month and the selections would be presented to the board of trustees by this summer for approval.

The design study would run from August through winter 2024.

A presentation with the official recommendation and request for approval to proceed with the project would be between January and March of 2024.

And if that plan follows through, UA Athletics says the beginning of renovation(s) would begin in March 2025 with Bud Walton Arena offline until the grand reopening in November 2026.

However, Trainor clarified to 5NEWS that Bud Walton won't be completely closed from March 2025 to November 2026, but that the Razorbacks would be playing "portions of basketball seasons" in the arena from January 2026 to February 2026.

Below is a more detailed schedule Trainor gave:

  • Offline March 2025-December 2025
  • Reopened January and February 2026
  • Offline March 2026-October 2026
  • Reopening November 2026

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