The former Nebraska State Fair Park campground could be the site of a new $20.4 million Nebraska Soccer and Tennis Complex.
If the Nebraska Board of Regents OKs the project at its July 18 meeting, the facility would be the new home for the Husker soccer and tennis teams.
The soccer stadium would seat 2,500 fans and open in August 2014, while the tennis complex – scheduled to be completed in January 2015 – would include 12 outdoor courts and six indoor courts and room for 1,400 fans.
Dressing rooms for all teams, meeting areas, tennis coaches' offices and an equipment storage house are also proposed for the land.
Found in the Board of Regents meeting agenda, the proposal from NU Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst and UNL Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance Christine Jackson says that private donations will cover the entire cost of both facilities. The annual operating cost of both facilities is listed at $275,000.
"Combined with new features and amenities for spectators, the new Nebraska Soccer and Tennis Complex will greatly enhance training, competition, recruiting, and fan amenities and will be a major attraction for Husker fans for years to come," the proposal reads.
NU hopes to have the ability to host the Big Ten Tournament, according to the proposal, and "enhance the recruiting path" of all three teams.
The Nebraska women's tennis team won the Big Ten last season. The men's tennis and women's soccer teams both finished in the bottom half of the league. NU does not field a men's soccer team.
The proposed site is bordered on the south by Salt and Oak Creeks and on the north by Cornhusker Highway. It's north of the revamped Bob Devaney Sports Center and NU's yet-to-be finished Innovation Campus.
If approved, construction would start May 2014 on 28 acres of land previously occupied by the campground.
Current facilities for the soccer and tennis programs are among the poorest in the Big Ten.
The Nebraska soccer team has been playing at the Nebraska Soccer Field at Ed Weir Stadium since 2005. It is the smallest competition field and the only field without lighting in the conference. Its buffer zones do not meet NCAA regulations.
Little seating, parking, concessions and restrooms have contributed to smaller crowds at the soccer stadium, NU says.
The tennis team plays on courts located on-campus and shared with UNL Campus Recreation. The outdoor courts lack a scoreboard and proper lighting and are undersized for tournament play. The team practices at an off-campus indoor site.
Calls to NU coaches and athletic officials were not returned Thursday evening.
World-Herald staff writer Samuel McKewon contributed to this report.