For months, the University of Dallas rumor mill churned out a juicy story about the development of new grandstands around the baseball field — a much needed upgrade over the old bleachers.
The grandstands, so the rumor goes, were delayed because the folks in charge of the budget for the construction of SB Hall had made a big mistake: they had forgotten to account for the interior furniture.
As it so often turns out, the truth and the rumor are not related. Dr. John Plotts, Senior Vice President for Enrollment & Student Services, and Dick Strockbine, Athletics Director, were able to clear up some confusion on the matter.
“The building actually came in $1.4 million under budget,” Dr. Plotts said. “But the $12 million gift was just for the building.”
The university then had to raise an additional $4 million to account for the interior structure of the new building. The fundraising process hit a major roadblock, however, when the administration learned that the projected revenue for the year from the Satish and Yasmin Gupta College of Business was estimated to come in $1 million short of expectations because of a steep drop in enrollment at the College of Business.
The funds were just not there to finish the development of the building’s interior. This is when the new baseball grandstands came into play.
“There’s no question that the baseball grandstands need to be renovated,” Strockbine said. “No one has come to me to complain about it. I think some of the parents were maybe a little bit upset.” Strockbine offered reassurances that the grandstands will likely begin to be built in the fall. He also stressed the need for flexibility.
Senior baseball players Brian Donley and Rene Vargas Jr. both seemed to agree, in their own ways. They said that some of the younger team members were a little upset, as they had been recruited to the team with the promise of a brand new baseball complex. But Donley and Vargas seemed to have cooler heads about the matter.
“I didn’t really expect much when they told us it was going to happen,” Donley said. “Around here in athletics, you kind of learn to be realistic about these sorts of things.”
Perhaps there is nothing to really grumble about in the details here, but when you dissect the rumor, the underlying truth is evident. This school is making visible progress — in a decade we may not even recognize half the buildings on campus. The Athletics Department, too, seems to be moving forward in the hands of leaders such as Plotts and Strockbine.
Yet, despite this optimism, despite all the plans for future development and improved facilities, an overwhelming attitude still rings true in the minds of athletes like Vargas, at UD:
“I’ll believe it when I see it.”