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Study identifies two viable UNLV stadium sites

An engineering study has identified two viable University of Nevada, Las Vegas stadium sites, with one requiring realignment of Swenson Street to accommodate a facility southwest of the Thomas &Mack Center.

Moving Swenson won’t be cheap. The Kimley Horn study pegs the cost at either $107 million or $115.8 million, depending on which of two realignment options is chosen.

The engineers also checked out a second potential stadium site — a 42-acre, off-campus private site off Tropicana Avenue on the east side of Koval Lane. The engineers estimated that site cost at $49.8 million, excluding land acquisition which could be in the $55 million range. Wells Fargo &Co. owns the site.

The Kimley Horn report will be presented to the UNLV stadium board on Thursday, when the 11-member panel is expected to discuss the proposed stadium type and potential funding options such as a countywide sales tax. Acting president Don Snyder, who also is the stadium board chairman, prefers an open-air stadium with a shade system for 45,000 fans that would cost $523 million.

The university hired the engineers to check out the stadium site issues after UNLV officials pulled the plug on the initial proposed site in June because the location at UNLV’s athletic fields off Swenson and Harmon Avenue caused landing and take-off problems at neighboring McCarran International Airport.

UNLV officials suggested a new campus stadium site next to Thomas &Mack and a second location at Tropicana and Koval, which is about a 10-minute walk from campus.

Gerry Bomotti, UNLV senior vice president for finance and business, said it appears both sites are viable for a football stadium, which university officials say is necessary to reach Tier One status.

“Well, I think it is good news overall or at least no terrible surprises. At this point, it appears both sites are viable and that there are traffic and transportation options to mitigate the challenges at either site,” Bomotti said in an email.

“There are always challenges when you are filling and emptying a large stadium like this. Of course, this is just initial due diligence work and there would be much more to do in order to finalize plans for either site … ,” Bomotti said.

He noted UNLV will have to follow up with Clark County and McCarran officials to address traffic and transportation issues.

“We need to have an agreement with the county on the use of their land west of campus regardless of which site is finalized,” Bomotti said.

The stadium board needs to tie up its discussions soon because the panel is required under state law to submit a stadium report to the Nevada Legislature by Oct. 1.

Contact reporter Alan Snel at asnel@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273. Follow @BicycleManSnel on Twitter.

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