RALEIGH Before they were hired at N.C. State, athletic director Debbie Yow and football coach Dave Doeren told chancellor Randy Woodson the same thing. The football program needed an indoor practice facility.
The Wolfpack took the latest step Tuesday afternoon to making that project a reality. Woodson, Yow and Doeren were on hand — with ceremonial shovels at the ready — for the dedication of the Close-King Indoor Practice Facility behind the East end of Carter-Finley Stadium and in the parking lot adjacent to the outdoor practice facility.
"For this program to compete at the highest level, this is a critical asset," Woodson said.
The facility, which will house a 120-yard football field and additional accommodations for the track team, was named in honor of Derick Close and Jim King, alumni who also serve on the Wolfpack Club Board of Directors.
The project costs $17.2 million, which will be privately funded by the Wolfpack Club. The amount of the donations made by Close and King were not disclosed.
King, a 1962 graduate who talked in the ceremony about the history of the improvements to Carter-Finley Stadium, said there was one main reason he made the financial commitment.
"It will put us on a level playing field when it comes to recruiting," King said.
Duke, Florida State and Virginia recently built indoor practice facilities. North Carolina has had access to a multi-purpose facility when the weather does not cooperate.
Yow said the weather issues, especially rain, were one of the primary concerns. She said on the whole, the facility will help not just the football programs but others that will have access to it.
"We set a goal to become a top 25 athletic program," Yow said. "We're not there yet, but this pushes us in that direction."
Bobby Purcell, the executive director of the Wolfpack Club, which is in charge of the project, said the goal was to complete the construction by spring. There's a chance the facility won't be done by the time spring practice starts, Purcell said, but he said they don't want to rush the construction process.
"We want to make sure we do it right," Purcell said.