Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Official Groundbreaking Today
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: January 20, 2012
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Jan. 20, 2012


TUCSON --The University of Arizona Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will hold a ceremonial groundbreaking for its North End Zone Football Facility at 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, in Arizona Stadium. The project was boosted by three substantial gifts.

UA President Eugene Sander, Athletics Director Greg Byrne and football Head Coach Rich Rodriguez will ceremoniously kick off the $72 million project, along with other notables.

The facility will be named for two couples, who are strong supporters of other University programs, with naming details yet to be determined, Byrne said.

The project is supported by private funds including significant leadership gifts from David and Edith Lowell, who pledged $11 million for the stadium complex, and from Jeff and Sharon Stevens, who donated a total of $12 million. All monies for ICA capital projects come from private funding and no state or tax dollars or student fees are being used to fund the project. The Lowell family gift previously was announced as an anonymous donation.

Also, Byrne announced an earlier gift of $2.5 million for the project from Peter W. and Nancy Salter, who were to attend the groundbreaking.

The facility will be a four-floor operations center with strength training, sports-medicine, coaches offices, locker rooms, meeting rooms, equipment and facility service areas. The structure will enclose the north end of the stadium and create a full bowl with nearly 4,000 premium spectator seats, including a donor lounge with outdoor seating. Also, it will have a campus cafeteria.

It will have stairway and elevator towers for the concourse connecting the structure to the existing east and west stadium sections, and additional restrooms and amenity areas for spectators, student-athletes and the campus community. Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2013.

David Lowell and Edith Sykes Lowell attended the University of Arizona where both participated in athletics. David played for the 1945 UA football team and Edith was a 1948 UA Letterwoman in field hockey and women's intramural sports. David received a bachelor's degree in mining engineering from the UA in 1949 and a master's degree in geology from Stanford University in 1957. He obtained a professional engineer degree from the UA in 1959 and also received honorary doctorates from Universidad Nacional de San Marcos in Peru in 1998 and the UA in 2000. Edith was a member of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and graduated with two degrees, a bachelor's in anthropology in 1948 and a master's in Spanish in 1950.

The Stevenses met at the University of Arizona while both were students in the early 1980s. A native of Phoenix, Jeff Stevens is one of the originating partners in Western Refining Inc. of El Paso and current president, director and chief operating officer for the firm. He began in the refining business as a marketing vice president for Phoenix Fuel in 1993 and for Giant Industries when it acquired that company in 1997. He joined Western as an executive vice president in 2000. Mrs. Stevens, the former Sharon Sayre, is a Tucson native who earned a dual degree from the UA in accounting and management information systems, and is a certified public accountant.

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