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New Lasch Upgrades Show Penn State Football is “All In”

The Penn State Board of Trustees approved $7.5 million worth of renovations Friday.

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Jan 2, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin holds up the Rose Bowl game championship trophy after beating the Utah Utes at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

In a public meeting Friday, the Penn State Board of Trustees approved funding for upgrades to the Penn State football program’s practice facilities. The $7.5 million will go towards renovations to Holuba Hall and the Lasch Building’s outdoor practice fields.

Coming on the heels of announced Beaver Stadium renovations and a nearly $50 million expansion of the Lasch Building last year, the approval sends a clear message. Penn State is ready to invest in the long-term future of the football program.

What’s in this Upgrade?

Projects under $10 million typically don’t require approval from the Board of Trustees. However, this project will be debt-financed and thus requires board approval.

According to the agenda from the meeting, the renovations will be focused on “various practice and support equipment and infrastructure.”

Specifically, the agenda cites the installation of a goal post, play clocks, and netting for the artificial turf outdoor field at the Lasch complex. Holuba Hall will receive cameras, a video board, and a sound system. Finally, a permanent video board and sound system are planned for indoor and outdoor practice fields.

Extreme Makeover: Lasch Edition 

While the upgrades approved Friday may be relatively minor, they follow the multi-year Lasch Building renovations approved in 2021 and started last year. 

These renovations are much more expansive, estimated to cost $48.3 million. In particular, upgrades to the Lasch Building’s performance-enhancement equipment garnered considerable attention. These upgrades were nearly complete at the start of the season last fall. If you’ve seen pictures or passed by the building while on campus, you’ve probably caught a glimpse of the sleek new weight room on the first floor.

Beyond that, other significant upgrades include the sports medicine treatment space and a suite for the “5thQuarter Program,” designed to help student-athletes transition from high school through college and into professional life.

Building for the Future

Winning in college football requires investment. The investment of time and energy from players and coaches is – and always will – be necessary. But it’s also essential to have monetary investment.

To win championships, you must be willing to spend. In some ways, it’s really that simple. We see the finished product on 12 Saturdays in the fall. But running a college football program is a 365-day-a-year operation. Top-notch facilities help to recruit elite athletes. Once on campus, programs must ensure these athletes have the nutritional, training, and educational support needed to reach their full potential.

I’m also a big advocate for investing in football to elevate the entire university’s status. The prime example here is Alabama, which has boosted enrollment and raised admission standards since Nick Saban was hired in 2007. On-field success entices people to want to be a part of an elite culture. In a way, college football is the front door for many universities across the country. 

While the Penn State football program is among the highest spenders in the sport, it has been playing catch-up for quite some time. But in the last year, changes in leadership at the university level have brought a culture shift to Happy Valley. It’s no longer about catching up – it’s about getting ahead.

In particular, athletic director Pat Kraft has stated his desire to bring championships to Penn State on numerous occasions. Kraft understands that success in this business requires commitment from the entire university and community.

Overseeing nearly $56 million worth of renovations to the football complex within his first year is a fine place to start.

So, on a sleepy Friday in February, Penn State football – and the entire Penn State community – sent a message. The time to compete is now. 

 

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Matt is a Co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

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