“The frustrating thing, we’re behind in all these things. We see what it did for Oklahoma State. Went from the bottom of the Big 12 to fighting for the top, just because of nice facilities. That’s what it’s all about in this day and time.”
The second phase — a massive edifice above the west upper deck — would start after completion of the Switzer Center, again, if the money is raised. That construction cost could exceed $200 million. The price tag on all three phases approaches $400 million.
“I think they’ll be able to get it done,” said the booster. “Nothing’s easy. The good part about it is, it looks like they’re going to get started. And you gotta look at the bright side.”
In his 20 years as OU’s president, Boren has been a master not only at fund-raising but at choosing the right times to fund raise. The same caution and control he has shown on the stadium project, he has shown on a variety of massive academic projects as well.
And both athletic director Joe Castiglione and football coach Bob Stoops have been respectful of that process. Stoops consistently has said he has everything he needs to win, though OU’s once-pristine weight room has fallen behind many others in the Big 12 and nationally in terms of size.
The weight room in the Switzer Center is used by virtually all the OU varsity teams, though the football has a smaller weightlifting facility in the Everest Indoor Training Center.
Earlier this month, when Stoops was asked if his team could use a football-only facility, he took the high road. “We have one,” Stoops said. “Our locker room, our entire area, is football only.”
But sources say Stoops has wanted, and been promised, a new weight room.
Boren apparently has decided the time is right for the launch of the project. Now it’s up to Castiglione’s fund-raising efforts, through the Boren parameters, to transform one of college football’s meccas.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.