Catholic University is set to announce plans for a proposed $7 million sports complex that will include a new football stadium and gymnasium, perhaps as early as March 1.
Groundbreaking could begin as early as June if fund-raising and architectural and construction plans go according to schedule.
"We've told people in the past that we were going to build a new facility, only to let them down, but it's definitely going to happen this time," said a university spokesman. University President Rev. William J. Byron admitted he was only "85 percent sure of the project's probability, but we're working around the clock to ensure its happening."
The 20-acre complex would be located at the intersection of Hawaii Avenue and Taylor Street NE, approximately a half-mile north of the main campus.
The Cardinals now play basketball in Brookland Gym, built in 1919. It holds fewer than 2,500. Brookland Stadium, CU's football field, was built in 1924 and seats 7,000, but some of its wooden bleachers are rotten and in disrepair.
The new complex would have a capacity of 3,500 seats for basketball. It would also house a 25-meter pool, eight handball and racquetball courts, eight outdoor tennis courts, baseball and softball fields and an outdoor track with space for field hockey. Plans include a football stadium, but its permanent seating capacity has not yet been determined.
"This proposed facility would primarily serve the fitness and participation needs of our undergraduate students," said Byron. "It would also be a comprehensive athletic facility which would encourage intramural and small-group sports as well as serve our interscholastic needs."
These plans for a new multi-purpose athletic complex are not an indication that Catholic is considering moving back to Division II, Byron said. Under NCAA rules, CU could not change its competition level until 1984.
The Cardinals, once a solid Division II contender in the Mason-Dixon Conference, moved into Division I seven years ago but fared poorly, and last year dropped to Division III.
Upon completion of the new athletic complex, the Brookland Gym and Stadium would be razed so the university could exploit its one-block proximity to the Brookland Metro station with possible campus redevelopment.
"Obviously, a new facility would be a real plus. It would be a real selling point for our program," said Catholic University basketball Coach Jack Bruen. "Right now our facilities are depressing. The new complex would really be a shot in the arm for the entire university, not just the basketball program. Our students need it."