Temporary offices for the Tennessee Tech football program could be the start to a long term solution for Tucker Stadium.
Tennessee Tech Athletic Director Mark Wilson said he was encouraged that Board of Trustees members wanted to make sure the temporary trailers did not become a long-term solution.
“We need the Board of Trustees to support that permanent renovation and enhancement to Tucker Stadium as a priority, a University priority,” Wilson said.
The Board of Trustees voted at its June meeting to allow the temporary offices. However, several trustees expressed concerns about the university’s appearance with these portable offices next to the stadium. Wilson asked for the temporary fix because of long-term water leaks in the office space under the stadium. Wilson said it’s critical for coaches to have a healthy work environment.
“Tucker Stadium for the athletic facilities that are in there, the engineering facilities that are in there, it is an aging facility,” Wilson said. “It’s a facility with significant water penetration, so I’m appreciative of the Board of Trustees approving that as a disclosed project for the university.”
Tennessee Tech did a conceptual plan to upgrade Tucker Stadium eight years ago. The price tag stood at some $45 million to retrofit one side of the facility. Wilson said that’s beyond the athletic department’s ability to fund raise.
“That’s why it needs to become an institutional priority where we have help from the entire advancement team and the entire university administration to be able to fund raise like they have for other priorities like the nursing building, like they did with the new science complex, like they’re currently wrapping up with the new engineering building,” Wilson said.
Other OVC schools including Austin Peay, UT Martin and Jacksonville State have made major stadium improvements in recent years. Wilson said Tech needs to catch up.
“We have a beautiful campus with the Georgian architecture, red brick, sandstone accents, white trim, white columns,” Wilson said. “Every building fits here except for Tucker Stadium. That is important for the look of the campus, but also for the vibrancy of football at Tennessee Tech.”
Board of Trustees members said they want to revisit the campus’ long-term plan to see how they might move forward with a Tucker Stadium plan. Several trustees said the temporary trailers outside the stadium should be a reminder to get the item on the agenda.