Villanova presented the future of the athletics department to assembled alumni at a reunion weekend event last month, and that future included new or renovated facilities for a number of program. That included an overhaul of the on-campus basketball arena, to provide a more fan-friendly environment. Drawings were shown to those who attended and VUhoops (with some help) reported on the meeting.
Patch.com's Radnor Township micro-site caught on to the news, linking to the VUhoops story and resulting in a commenting firestorm from local residents. Villanova was already asking for permission to construct a massive new $200million dormitory and performing arts complex on Lancaster avenue, now the residents were aware that more improvements might be in the pipeline.
Villanova opposition-group, The Right Plan for Radnor (and their spokesman, Kevin Geary), then began to reference these plans -- which, for the record, were presented as a long-term option -- in their arguments against Villanova's proposed zoning changes.
The University went immediately into spin-mode, telling Patch.com editor Sam Strike that the plans were not on the horizon.
Truthfully, Villanova doesn't have any solid plan for how an on-campus facility improvement would go. Renderings have been produced, but a project isn't ready to start tomorrow -- that's the truth of Nova spokesman, Jonathan Gust's statement. The intention to make the improvements, however, is not in question.
At Monday's World Team Tennis event at the Pavilion, Tennis legend and Philadelphia Freedoms owner Billie Jean King added some fuel to the Pavilion fire.
"Someday, they are going to implode this [the Pavilion] and we will have an even nicer arena," she told the Delco Times' Jack McCaffery. "They will build a beautiful, new one too."
According to McCaffery's blog, she wasn't just speculating either.
"I know," King said. "Yeah. I know. I am thrilled about that. It will be nice to have a new facility. Oh, yeah, they are definitely going to someday have a new facility and it will be great. Right here where we are standing. This will be imploded."
There are no set dates just yet. Villanova still needs to fundraise and finalize plans and they likely won't firm up any details until after the approvals are granted for the $200 million dormitory project. These sort of building projects are expensive to get approvals for and expensive to actually build in Radnor Township, and Villanova clearly intends to stagger their projects over a period of time.