III. 2012 – 2017 Master Plan: Executive Summary

TheĀ 15 images that follow comprise the Executive Summary of the 2012 – 2017 Master Plan as approved by the Drexel University Board of Trustrees:

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19 thoughts on “III. 2012 – 2017 Master Plan: Executive Summary”

  1. Looks awesome. When will you be releasing plans for the renovation of Stratton? Will there be an overhaul in its ugly facade?

    Also, I do hope that we aggressively look into building a 8,000 – 10,000 seat arena on Market or JFK instead of simply doing a renovation. Drexel is a large school and the current plans for adding a mere 500 seats is not good enough. There is a tremendous opportunity to bring in revenue from non-Drexel events if we were to build such a first class arena by 30th street station.

    1. The design for Stratton is in progress. I will put up a progress post when I have some detail. I expect there will be exterior renovations, but not for two years.

      An arena is desireable, but not contemplated in the 2012 – 2017 time frame.

    2. I agree with Chris. Are you talking specifically about a basketball area, for our basketball team? It’s really a shame that we have such a small court, and such a big fan base. I really would like to see us upgrade into a big arena like other Division I schools. The original idea for the Armory would have been awesome. What are the current plans for the expansion of the Dac and when would they be implemented?

      1. The original concept for the Armory, at 4,400 seats, was too expensive to execute. We have explored the revenue-generating capacity for an arena, and the prospects are not encouraging.

  2. A new arena is absolutely necessary. I’d be interested in hearing the more specific results that are “not encouraging” for a new arena. Does it factor in the publicity that post-season basketball success does for a program, and the amount that alumni donations would increase with a successful program? We have a stacked team right now, and should be able to compete for the NCAA tournament the next 2-3 years, but it would be a shame not to capitalize on their potential success.

    1. Simply put, from our conversations with leading arena operators we have learned there is no return on the investment. This kind of facility needs to be financed by a major gift from a donor in exchange for naming rights.

      1. Have you looked into Xavier University’s arena? They are a small catholic school and they built a 10,000 seat arena with corporate naming rights using alumni donations. It could be a good case study. I have no idea if they have gotten a good return though

  3. I agree, a new arena is necessary. It is quite embarassing to have the DAC as it is right now, even if it is cozy. As a student, I believe this is imperative for Drexel. I don’t believe that there would be “no return on investment” because sports always provide a good return on investment. It shouldn’t just be about ticket sales, but also about getting Drexel’s name out there, being able to hold more people (even for graduation), finally having air conditioning, modern concessions and scoreboards. If we want to improve Drexel’s image, a new basketball arena or a massive modernization is necessary, since away fans and viewers on TV get their first impression of Drexel at the DAC.

    1. The need for a new arena has drawn the largest number of comments of any topic covered by this blog. Naming rights are available to him or her among you who will pledge the lead gift.

  4. I also agree that an arena should be in the plans. Right now it is embarrassing that there isn’t a space on campus to suitably have convocation, graduation, concerts, and basketball games, and it is might be one of the last key items holding Drexel back. As has already been mentioned, Drexel has yet to truly tap into the “free” advertising that elevating our basketball team to the next level would do for us. In addition, I don’t see why an arena like this could not make money, when it could constantly be rented out for convention-like items, high school sports championships, fairs, circuses, olympics, non-Drexel concerts, etc. etc.

    In my opinion, the Armory would be the perfect place to renovate. I think a 4,500-5,000 seat arena would be the perfect size for Drexel at this point in it’s history, and there is no other way to get an arena so centrally located, yet in such a historic building. Sure, I would also be happy if we built a brand new arena from scratch next to 30th Street, but just imagine if we had an arena with actual history, something more like the Palestra. I do think that a DAC renovation would not be the best idea, unless they can somehow get the seating up to the same 4,500-5,000 range. (Also, I would be interested to know what the current price estimates are/would be for both of these projects, instead of just always hearing that the armory is too expensive.)

    Finally, as far as financing, if a plan was settled on I know that I would certainly donate towards it, but I have no ambition to donate right now if I don’t know if the money is going to the armory, the DAC, or neither. While a large donor would certainly help kick start the project, what about an interest free loan from the CAA? What about corporate sponsorship? (Gulp, like The Comcast Armory at Drexel), Have large donors been asked about this? (Lebow? Heck, even Malik Rose now that he’s back in town? The Rose Athletic Center (RAC) has a nice ring to it, right next to the DAC!) It seems there are many ways that this could be achieved if the university made it a priority instead of an after thought.

  5. I’ll also chime in saying that this needs to be made a priority for the university. More people have been talking about Drexel (positively) in the past week than perhaps in the past year. Look at VCU’s model for example, invested in their program, and made the Final Four last year. Applications to VCU skyrocketed, contributions to the athletic department jumped 396%, and donations to the university at large increased 40%, and that is just from one year of success. We have the opportunity now to expand our brand on a level academics and research alone cannot take it, and should be seen as a focus for the university.

  6. I’ll jump on the bandwagon. I think I speak for a very, very large percentage of the student body when I say that a new arena is absolutely necessary. Drexel has been all over ESPN and in the national headlines over the past few weeks. Think about the revenue that comes from free advertising and name recognition. It also goes deeper than basketball. How does such a large university not have space to hold graduation, and events/concerts? Drexel is one of the top “up and coming universities” and the DAC is really holding us back. I think Drexel planning is being extremely short sighted about this issue, and I don’t see why a reasonable 5,000+ seat arena isn’t even being considered.

  7. I agree with all of the above posts regarding a new arena or a high-quality DAC renovation. The Armory plan has been floating around for over a decade now. It’s unacceptable that the students have worked so hard to build up school spirit while the administration has done nothing more than paint the court differently. The poster above gives VCU as a perfect example, they invested in the Seigel Center, a top-notch on-campus venue, the basketball team sees success and donations go through the roof.

    I love the DAC, I helped to create the DAC Pack, I graduated in 2004 and am extremely proud of my school and my education, I’m blown away by how great the campus looks just 7-8 years later… but I do not plan on donating 1 cent to Drexel until they address this problem. A good basketball program is single best way or a school like Drexel to get it’s name out to the entire country and the next step in building this program is giving them a respectable facility to call home.

  8. I agree with the comments regarding the need for a new arena. Our current facility is a black eye for the university. Playing in a high school gym, with no prospects to upgrading the facility, the university is sending a message that they are not committed to its athletic programs. A new arena needs to be a priority for university funding. As others have mentioned, there are economic benefits from an investment in the athletic program. Please also consider the impact of building a stronger connection with the current student body as well as the alumni through athlectics. We are all proud of what Drexel has become, but we are embarassed about the university’s lack of financial committment to its athlectic program.

    1. Well, the sentiment is clear with respect to the arena issue. No one in the administration disagrees with the need, which would have to compete with academic facility needs if funded from debt. Debt capacity is not currently available to fund a large project, and is not likely to be available for several years. This kind of project requires a major donor.

      1. I agree with everything you said, right up until “This kind of project requires a major donor”. First and foremost the university should be focusing most of it’s attention on academic facilities. I think everyone would agree with that. But this arena doesn’t need to be “big donor” or bust. It certainly doesn’t need to start with a big donor. I would challenge the university and the athletic department to make this a priority, by starting a transparent fundraising campaign, from the bottom up. They should publicly commit to plans for a 5,000 seat arena (in the armory, in the DAC, or on the acquired Five Star Parking land, for example), and start a fundraising campaign (with the money thermometer, a website, etc.). I think the response, especially after the season that the basketball team just had, would be very positive. The DAC Pack could work again with students and administrators to get an extra temporary activity fee added to student’s bills to raise money from current students (just like was done for the new athletic center). Alumni could be asked to donate, with bonuses for donating different amounts (over $x gets you seasons tickets for a year, over $y gets you a year in the suite, etc.). I think if a grassroots campaign like this were started and really took off, I think bigger donors would then come in and help out as well, not to mention corporate sponsors could be explored (for naming rights, etc.).

        What’s missing from the arena projecct is the administrations “buy-in” on this. Right now the public perception is that they don’t care, as a few ideas have been floated around (armory, half-hearted and status quo DAC renderings, etc.) and they haven’t settled on anything. With that uncertainty, no one wants to donate. Also, as far as I know, there is no way to donate to the university/athletics specifically for a new arena and nothing else (without writing it in). I’m sure the admin has reached out to large donors, but they have stopped there. A solid, certain plan for an arena made publicly known (and one that is suitable and built for the future, meaning 5,000 seats at least, not 3,500), followed by a simple fundraising campaign that engages the alumni and students could get this done for Drexel.

      2. As a current student, I agree with Jordan. While I would not be able to donate thousands of dollars (yet), I would definitely want to help chip in, and I know I’m not the only student who feels this way. But it is imperative to know whether we upgrade the current DAC, turn the armory into a multi-purpose arena, or construct a new arena on purchased property. Here are some illustrations from a plan, it looks great: http://www.ewingcole.com/#/practices/sportsentertainment/featuredprojects/drexel

  9. The problem is the administration does not see funding for a new arena as a “need”. There is a difference between “want” and “need”. The answer, “that arena project requires a donor” , shows that the administration considers new facilities as a “want.” Sitting back and waiting for some major donor to walk in with 70 million is not what the university has done for other “need” projects. Clearly the administration has funded “need” projects all over campus since the armory project was first mentioned over a decade ago.

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