The Mackay Stadium renovation, which began in December 2015, has reached the finish line after a couple of required further renovations aimed to make the stadium ADA compliant.
Wolf Pack athletic director Doug Knuth told Nevada Sports Net last week the finishing touches are being put on the latest renovation, which came in with a $3 million price tag.
“Our facility people are out there going through the final checklist, and if there are any last-minute things that have to be fixed that’s the opportunity to take those notes and the construction folks will fix it and change it," Knuth said last Thursday. "It should be done this week if things get buttoned up.”
Mackay's original $11.5 million renovation was completed prior to the 2016 season but it had ADA compliance issues that required another $900,000 renovation in 2017. Both renovations were done by local company Worth Group, which had completed multiple projects for the university, including the $40 million E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center and the Wolf Pack's academic center. But even after the 2017 renovation, Mackay Stadium was not ADA compliant, which required this latest renovation, which is being completed by HOK Architects, Inc., a national architectural and engineering design firm with a concentration in athletic stadiums.
This summer's renovation is aimed at adding more wheelchair spaces (the requirement for a stadium Mackay's size is 140, far more than the 76 spots it had last season); add wheelchair spaces to the east side luxury boxes; and provide unobstructed sight lines from the west side loge boxes. The renovation required a reduction in the number of loge boxes at Mackay and the removal of rows in sections B-H and M.
“The sight lines had to be changed and approved and access to certain areas had to be changed and approved to code," Knuth said. "Progress is just abut done."
Wolf Pack athletics has been responsible for each of the last two renovations at a total cost of $3.9 million. The first ADA renovation, which cost $900,000, was folded into the original bond the department took out to pay for the $11.5 million renovation. A new loan was taken out on the latest $3 million renovation, which required a $200,000 payment late in fiscal year 2020 that contributed to a $2 million budget deficit last fiscal year.
“It was $11.5 million the first round and we had borrowing capacity above that number, so the first fix was roughly $900,000, which came out of our bonding capacity, the original loan," Knuth said. "This latest round is a separate loan. It looks really nice. I’ve seen it a few times now, but the construction group did a good job.”
Last July, the university sought approval from the Nevada Board of Regents to sue Worth Group for $3.9 million, the combined price of the two ADA renovations. Kerri Garcia Hendricks, UNR's Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, told NSN that litigation is still pending.
“Any money that comes out of that lawsuit will go to paying that bill," Knuth said. "I don’t want to carry that loan if I don’t have to.”
Since 2015, Mackay Stadium has undergone about $19.2 million in renovations, including $11.5 million for the original renovation, $3.9 million in ADA renovations, $2.1 million for a new video board and sound system, $400,000 for a new track and $1.3 million for Jensen Plaza, an entrance on the north end of the stadium.
Knuth said he's looking forward to fans seeing the new Mackay Stadium, although that might not happen this year. The Mountain West Board of Directors voted last week to delay fall sports until the spring, and it's unclear if a season will be played then or whether fans will be allowed in the stadium if games are played.
“I don’t know," Knuth said when asked if he thinks fans will be allowed at games in the spring. "I sort of fall in the same category as the (Reno 1868 FC) soccer guys that, ‘If casinos can be open why can’t we be open?’ I sort of agree with them. But I don’t know because we never got to the point of playing games. If we were going to be allowed to have fans or not, we’ll find out hopefully in the spring.”