Sid Hartman's report about new $70 million football practice facility is wrong, U of M says

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Today's Sid Hartman column contains a big scoop about a new $70 million practice facility for Jerry Kill's football team. The only problem is it's totally inaccurate, at least according to one high-ranking University of Minnesota official.

Citing unnamed sources, Hartman, 94, reports that ground will be broken on the football facility this December. But Chris Werle, senior associate athletic director, says, "That story is wrong. There's no groundbreaking date yet."

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Not only that, but Werle has no idea where Sid got his $70 million figure.

"We are kind of in a phase where we're doing a feasibility study, looking at plans and designs and looking at ways to do it more economically," he says. "So the things in the story were way off and even the things such as the cost estimates -- it was speculative."

Last summer, U of M athletic director Norwood Teague unveiled a $190 million Facilities Needs Assessment and Plan, including a new football complex, men's and women's basketball practice facility, and an "Olympic sport indoor practice facility," among other amenities. The money is to be raised exclusively from private donors.

Werle says his department is making progress toward converting the plan into reality, but they aren't as far along as Hartman's column would have you believe.

"We're one part of a public university on an urban campus, and while we're moving very quickly, there are a lot of processes you need to go through before you can get started on something like this," he says. "The notion we have all the donors lined up is wrong."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.



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