- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 21, 2011

STILLWATER, OKLA. (AP) - Oklahoma State plans to start construction this summer on a new $16 million indoor practice facility that has been in the works for years.

Athletic director Mike Holder announced Tuesday that construction of the Sherman E. Smith Training Center will begin around Aug. 1. The Cowboys will become the last Big 12 team to have an indoor practice site for football.

Smith donated $20 million toward what was intended to be a $50 million facility when the gift was announced in January 2007, but construction was repeatedly delayed.

The training center was part of a the university’s grand plan for an athletics village to be funded through a $165 million donation from T. Boone Pickens, but only renovations to the football stadium have been completed so far.

Pickens invested the money and at one point grew the funds to $407 million, but then lost $282 million when the economy faltered.

Smith passed away on June 6, and Holder said his family has allowed the university to use his gift to build the facility instead of as an endowment as it was originally announced.

“We owe another thank you to the Smith family,” Holder said in a statement. “They have allowed us to use their gift for the construction of the indoor facility. Boone Pickens has made a testamentary gift that will provide for the endowment of the facility.”

Holder said Oklahoma State is raising money to pay for three grass and turf practice fields that are already being built next to the Smith Center site, across the street from Boone Pickens Stadium. The estimated price tag for the fields is $3 million.