University President Eric Kaler told school administrators in a memo that the initial $20 million proposal to renovate the Les Bolstad Golf Course is too costly. The high price tag “envisions activities that go well beyond our core mission competencies,” and the real cost should be closer to $7.5 million, he added.
A preliminary renovation proposal of $20 million for the University of Minnesota’s Les Bolstad Golf Course, in St. Paul, will likely be taken down a few notches, the Minneapolis StarTribune reported.
In a memo, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler stated that the current price tag is too high for the renovation and that a new renovation proposal would have to “come in at no more than $7.5 million,” the StarTribune reported
“Clearly the status quo is not sustainable, given the condition of the course and the clubhouse,” Kaler wrote. “However, I also believe that the current, nearly $20 million preliminary renovation proposal is too costly, and envisions activities that go well beyond our core mission competencies.”
The university’s Department of Recreational Sports proposed a $19.5 million renovation for the 18-hole Falcon Heights course and driving range, and its classic white clubhouse, which is now condemned. Kaler requested additional business and fundraising plans to determine if the course was the best use for the land. Kaler also said the proposal should ensure the course could tolerate extreme weather and has a functioning clubhouse, the StarTribune reported.
Al Levine, dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, who leads the proposal committee, said it is too early to comment on what the redesign may include. The deadline for the proposal to be submitted is December 1, the StarTribune reported.
“The golf course has a lot of history, and we want to make sure it meets the needs of the university,” Levine said.
The course is too short to host college golf tournaments and the university teams do not use it frequently. In 2009, recreational sports took over the course, hoping to boost revenue and the number of students signing up for tee times, the StarTribune reported.
After the proposal is submitted, it will be reviewed by the university’s Capital Oversight Committee, which will then consider it as part of the six-year capital plan. Levine said there is still a chance the renovations will not happen, but he feels that is unlikely.
“There is always that possibility, but the president wants to do this and has made it a priority,” Levine said.
David Okita, President of the university’s Golf Club, sent an e-mail to club members expressing his excitement over the announcement, the StarTribune reported.
“The time for all of this is yet to be determined,” Okita wrote in his e-mail to club members. “But the good news is our golf course will be around for a long time to come!”