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Vanderbilt launches $300m venue investment drive

Vanderbilt University in the US city of Nashville has detailed plans to significantly enhance its athletics facilities as part of a new $300m (£218m/€256m) fundraising campaign.

The Vandy United Fund promises to deliver investment in the university’s student-athletes and athletics programmes through major facilities and operational enhancements.

Vanderbilt has already identified $200m towards the project, with a $100m commitment from the university, $90m from anonymous donors and a $10m lead gift from John R. Ingram, a Board of Trust member and long-time supporter of the college’s athletics programmes.

Vanderbilt is now reaching out to the broader university community to help support the future of its athletics programmes. The fund will invest in new facilities and provide upgrades to existing venues.

A new operations centre will be set up for American football, while the McGugin Center will be expanded to include a new sports performance centre. Other investments will include an indoor American football practice facility and a basketball operations centre.

Improvements will also be made in other areas such as premium seating, hospitality spaces, upgraded food and beverage options and other fan amenities.

Vanderbilt has worked with Perkins&Will on the strategic planning phase of the facilities plan, while Populous has been selected as the master architect. Design is underway and further details and renderings of the first phase of facility projects will be unveiled in the summer.

Construction on the operations centres for American football and basketball are set to begin after the conclusion of the 2021 season.

Vanderbilt chancellor Daniel Diermeier said: “As the largest undertaking of its kind in Vanderbilt Athletics’ history, the Vandy United Fund represents a bold step for Vanderbilt athletics and the promise of an even brighter future.

“This is our moment to turn the page, together, and start a new chapter for Vanderbilt athletics, for our student-athletes and for our many supporters. This is our opportunity to make good on the promise and potential of Vanderbilt athletics by investing in our student-athletes and providing a better fan experience, today and in the future, and creating an environment where our student-athletes can thrive and compete to win, now and for decades to come.”

There are currently no plans to build a brand-new American football venue, with the existing Vanderbilt Stadium (pictured) to be upgraded instead. With a capacity of 40,000, it is the smallest American football stadium in the Southeast Conference.

Candice Lee, vice-chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletic director, added: “Each of these projects is a significant undertaking in its own right; taken together, they catapult Vanderbilt’s ability to enhance success on and off the field for all of our student-athletes.

“They deserve this investment as well, and we appreciate their passion and patience. While we prioritise building an infrastructure that directly and immediately impacts our student-athletes’ experience, we will also improve the fan experience with tangible upgrades, starting in Vanderbilt Stadium. More information about those upgrades will be announced throughout the summer.”

Image: Mhar564/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size