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May 1, 2012

Rice Owl Fans,

Thank you to those who submitted questions recently. I encourage you to continue sending me messages through the "Ask the AD" portal. I will remain focused on sharing answers and feedback with you. Thank you for your support of our Rice Scholar-Athletes.

Rick Greenspan, Rice Director of Athletics

On the Q&A about the new facility, it talks about improvements to the stadium. I'm assuming these go beyond just the new plaza. Are these infrastructure improvements or cosmetic or both?

A majority of the fan improvements will be created in the plaza, along with the addition of amphitheater-style grass seating. Adjacent to the plaza, proposed plans call for new concession stands, restrooms and ticket windows to service the fans on game days. Other improvements will be infrastructure related. About $7M of deferred maintenance will be eliminated with the work completed on the end zone. Besides the endzone, you will not see any dramatic changes to a large portion of Rice Stadium or the seating bowl with this current project. While we are aware other areas of the stadium need work, our first priority is the construction a new facility for our scholar-athletes.

What is the status of the renovations for the football stadium?

President Leebron, Board of Trustee Members, Coach Bailiff, the Owl Club Staff and I are actively fundraising for this project. We have been visiting with current Rice donors and potential supporters - sharing opportunities for them to help make the project a reality. A substantial portion of the money must be raised before we move into the next phase of the project, the design aspect. All the work that has been completed to this point is part of the pre-design phase.

Why do you charge $10 for seating on the hill for Rice Baseball games?

When Reckling Park's drainage was upgraded, the work done on that project also allowed us to make significant upgrades to the hill area. The level was raised and a set of bleachers were added, creating another desirable vantage point to enjoy Rice Baseball. For several years, we charged admission to only select games, but I felt that it made greater sense to establish a consistent policy. Rice Baseball is a quality product and a great value for sports fans and we feel the pricing is quite reasonable. There is always a period of adjustment, but from what I have seen, the popularity of the hill area has not been greatly diminished by this change.

What is going to happen to the R Room in the new facility?

This is a question that my staff and I receive often. The R Room will not be in the same location following the construction of the new Scholar-Athlete Development Center. The new facility will have a space designated for functions, meetings and to house the awards and history of Rice Athletics - similar to the current R Room. A new R Room will have an updated and more modern feel. The view on game day will be farther away from the field but the second-level room will be utilized for pre- and post-game events. The new space, along with the Hall of Fame area, will adequately serve to honor those letter winners that have donned the Rice uniform.

Question: Who chooses which questions are answered in the "Ask AD Section"?

For our last "Ask the AD" posting we selected questions that were most representative of the conversations we were having with constituents since the last installment. In the past, I have tried to answer all the questions that are submitted by our fans, supporters and donors but with the April 9 edition, I tried to hit the hot-button topics. Moving forward I want to share more answers and feedback, to more questions, more often. So please keep them coming by submitting them here .

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