- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 26, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Vanderbilt interim athletic director Candice Storey Lee knows Commodores’ fans want specifics about what the Southeastern Conference’s only private university will do to upgrade athletic facilities.

She promised Wednesday night the strategic plan Vanderbilt released is only a first step.

“Today was always going to be words,” Lee told reporters Wednesday night. “It was a strategy. Now the action begins. And I do want commodore nation to hold us to that and that information is to come.”

The only project announced Wednesday involves fundraising to improve the Commodores’ football locker room inside McGugin Center, which is across the street from the football stadium. The renovation costing less than $5 million is expected to be finished before this season starts.

The strategic plan was developed under athletic director Malcolm Turner, whose resignation was announced Feb. 4 along with Lee as interim athletic director. Lee told reporters on Feb. 5 that the strategic plan would be only a first step, and she reiterated that again before Vanderbilt’s game with Missouri.



Vanderbilt still is working on a master facility plan listing improvements for athletics’ facilities as part of FutureVU, the university’s overall plan for using its space. Lee said she expects several more projects to be announced this year.

“It’s really important to me that we’ve done our due diligence and all logistics are finalized and we’re ready to come forward with something we are ready to execute,” Lee said. “I’m really excited about what is to come.”

The 17-page plan released Wednesday detailed academic and personal development, athletic excellence, working to improve communication with people on campus along with alumni and in Nashville, improving fan experience and increasing revenue.

Vanderbilt’s football stadium had its last major renovation in 1981. Memorial Gym, where both the men’s and women’s basketball teams play, is the SEC’s oldest gym and has no air-conditioning.

University officials have announced plans over the past couple decades including stadium tours to study ideas on how to renovate and update the football stadium with only cosmetic improvements made. Lee made clear she’s only been in charge for about three weeks and can’t change the past at a university where she once played basketball. But she also said Vanderbilt University stands behind this plan.

“(It’) us saying that we will do what we’re saying we’re going to do,” Lee said. “And I understand it’s not just words you want to see action. Well, me too. That’s exactly what we’re planning on. That’s exactly what I expect we will do.”

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