The Hatfield-Dowlin Complex in perspective

Posted by Craig Garcia on Monday, Aug. 12 at 10:00 am.
The Hatfield-Dowlin Complex is equipped with its own theater room called Sanders Hall. The theater room is large enough to host the coaches and the entire Oregon football team and will be used for analyzing film. The chairs that line the aisle are constructed from the same leather that Ferrari uses for its car interior. (Andrew Seng/Emerald)

The Hatfield-Dowlin Complex is equipped with its own theater room called Sanders Hall. The theater room is large enough to host the coaches and the entire Oregon football team and will be used for analyzing film. The chairs that line the aisle are constructed from the same leather that Ferrari uses for its car interior. (Andrew Seng/Emerald)




Tucked behind Lawrence and Allen halls stands the oldest building on the University of Oregon campus — Deady Hall. Its largest classroom holds 90 students and the building’s most elaborate piece of technology is a DVD player. The building’s VCR comes in at a close second.

More than a stone’s throw away, across the Willamette, stands the newest building to be a part of the UO: the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex, a mecca built for the UO football team that holds 64 55-inch high-definition TVs — and that’s just within the entrance.

What comes with the supposed $68 million price tag — estimates are now coming in at closer to $138 million — are hydrotherapy pools for the coaches, bathroom mirrors with built-in TVs, a two-story theater to review game footage and a barbershop. And that’s not even a quarter of the distinctive features that set Hatfield-Dowlin apart from any other building owned and operated by the University.

“If a building was a superhero, that’s it,” said UO head football coach Mark Helfrich during an Aug. 6 press conference. Comparing the building to a superhero might be an understatement — since even the Batcave would blush over Hatfield-Dowlin’s amenities.

At that same press conference, Helfrich mentioned that the publicity the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex has received recently shows how well the UO treats not only student athletes, but also its students. Some disagree.

Deady Hall is one of the various older buildings on campus whose conditions are deteriorating. (Nate Barrett/Emerald)

Deady Hall is one of the various older buildings on campus whose conditions are deteriorating. (Nate Barrett/Emerald)

“This might be kind of a lot to ask for, but I think getting some air conditioning installed in some classrooms over in Pacific would be a good idea,” said Adam Lowe, a recent UO graduate. “My only guess as to why the school hasn’t installed any air conditioning in those rooms is because they don’t see the point in putting in something that’s only going to be used for a couple of months.”

But air conditioning is a luxury. What’s more important than renovations to make students feel comfortable is work that makes students safe.

Bean, Riley and Earl halls were built in the 1950s. At the time, the facilities were known as the premier dorms on campus, but now the Living Learning Center and Global Scholars Hall share that distinction.

Outside appearances make Bean, Riley and Earl a little less desirable than the other dorms, but what’s perhaps the most important drawback to those dorms is that they’re equipped with fire sprinklers only in the basement. Earl Hall, however, is currently undergoing an overhaul of its sprinklers system.

“We’re currently in the process of updating the sprinklers in Earl,” said Drew Standridge, the UO’s fire systems manager. “The project is a pretty expensive one. It’s going to cost half a million to upwards of $800,000.”

The development process for Hatfield-Dowlin spanned a few years. Securing the finances for the new sprinklers in Earl took even longer — nearly a decade.

The difference in the developments of Hatfield-Dowlin and Earl Hall is that Hatfield-Dowlin spent its years planning out where to put their “war room” and “Area 51” room, while the Fire and Life Safety group spent all of their time convincing the University for financing.

The important thing to note is that the Hatfield-Dowlin was able to spend its time personalizing every detail of the complex because all of the money was donated. Since the money was donated, the University doesn’t have any financial breakdowns concerning the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex.

“We have no information on the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex and it was a project that we didn’t have any part in managing,” said Darin Dehle, director of capital construction.

The War Room, where coaches meet to talk about strategies, game plans and football ideas. (Nate Barrett/Emerald)

The War Room, where coaches meet to talk about strategies, game plans and football ideas. (Nate Barrett/Emerald)

“It’s a gift,”  athletics department spokesman Craig Pintens told Comcast Sportsnet. “It goes to the foundation and then to the athletic department. The $68 million figure has been used by the media because a long time ago, it was on the budget when the blueprints were submitted to the city.”

Even if Hatfield-Dowlin cost the claimed $68 million dollars, that still overshadows any project that’s been funded by the University in recent years. Allen Hall opened its newly renovated doors at the start of winter term this year and the total approximate budget for that project was $27.6 million. The highest donation, submitted by an anonymous donor, was $5 million.

The proposed budget for the coming EMU renovation is $95 million. However, it’s been more than 60 years since the building had any major work done.

Deady Hall went under renovation in 2006, but the project was more about keeping the building alive and less about modernizing it. Even with Deady’s grim-looking exterior and its squeaky floors and rundown walls, the building has played a pivotal role in educating UO students, even without the latest bells and whistles.

“Yeah, Deady’s not a bad building. I mean it’s pretty worn down, but it worked alright for a classroom,” said Lowe, the recent graduate. “I had a lot of classes in that building. It would be nice if they did a little bit of a facelift on it. It’s a shame cause I feel like people don’t give buildings like that any attention.”

  • Recent Grad

    If this was written 4 years ago, I’d be with you. But with the approval of the SRC and Rec center remodels, energy refits to PLC, now Chiles, Straub remodels. Approved plans for new dorms coming with 5 years, the campus infrastructure that serves all students is being upgraded as well. The size and scope of the EMU and cost to students is less than that of most of the PAC 12 school’s latest student union projects anyway.

  • Proud75Duck

    Enough already with the whiny comparisons between the opulent buildings that wealthy donors have seen fit to spend on Oregon’s sports facilities while the academic structures stagnate and crumble. We get it. It doesn’t seem fair. And wouldn’t it be nice if those folks scattered some of their cash south of the river? Maybe that will happen when UO is finally cut free from the state’s unworthy oversight. If not, then here’s hoping that a current student or recent Duck grad unhappy with the situation quickly earns a billion dollars and gives it to the university to upgrade the declining academic physical plant.

    • Buh

      Why would privatizing the UO suddenly make rich people care about academics?

  • Not all about sports

    I think this article kind of misses the point. It’s great to educate people and make them aware of the details underlying the disparity of funds, but I feel that this is simply a way to deflect the reality. The influx of funds to the athletic department is very generous and would be admirable if the products of those funds were open to everyone. If the entire university had equal access to and use of the grandiose buildings and programs and advertising currently exclusive to ‘student athletes’, then it would show that the UO and the Knight’s (among others) truly are philanthropic. But that isn’t the case. What makes ‘coaches’ more deserving of hot tubs than any other professor? Why is a win in sports rewarded and advertised more heavily than the establishment of the META center? Why do student athletes need their own exclusive tutors? Do they somehow learn differently than other students? And, why do those tutors need to be hidden away from the public eye, away from scrutiny? UO is sending a message of favoritism and elitism. It is true that donations have been made in favor of academics but that does not wipe away the glaring inequality. The rules that govern the use of public funds are there to ensure that elitism, segregation, and this kind of disparity doesn’t happen. Yes, they are often subject to ridiculous bureaucracy but that is why we live in a democratic society. The real problem is that there is nothing democratic about the athletic department, it is loudly sending the message that it is elitist and playing by its own rules.

    • Are You Serious?

      What makes ‘coaches’ more deserving of hot tubs than any other professors is that Phil Knight decided, I am going to use my hard earned money how I see fit, and this is what I choose to do with it. The money is a gift. The hot tub is a gift. Why are you bringing up the rules that govern the use of public funds for the donation or a building? That is irrelevant. They were not public funds. Would you rather the school turn down such a generous offer? How about this, instead of complaining on a message board, draw up a proposal or a request for funding for a specific project of need and request it from the Knights. Given how generous they were with the library and law school, they just might listen to your concerns. And what scrutiny are you going to give fellow student academic tutors? Do you want to go and check their credentials? Let me help you, they are students with an excellent GPA who work hard at what they do. The student athletes require tutors because the NCAA requires it. It is mandatory. And what glaring inequity in donations? What does that even mean? Do you understand that these are individuals donating their own money for a specific purpose? This is not an equal system. This is not some board that is deciding what to do with school funds and choosing to give it to athletics. I find your post insulting to the student tutors, very ungrateful to the people who donate to Oregon and unbelievably frustrating.

      • duckg

        My only problem with donations to athletics is that they are tax deductible? Why should taxpayers subsidize rich people buying season tickets in exchange for “donations”?

  • jaybug

    Okay, I guess I am now a luxury. I am one of the 9 people who are responsible for providing all the chill water for air conditioning on campus. We just spent 5 years upgrading our system so that we can hope to provide adequate heating and cooling to campus. Those 5 years took more than 8 to happen. But that’s the state legislature for you, eh? The 2005 legislature allowed the university proceeds from bond sales for the Central Power Station upgrades. The bonds were to be sold beginning March 2007. We just finished the project this year.

    We can now support the Matthew Knight Arena, the Knight Law School, and the rest of campus, without having to make some buildings do without cooling, because we didn’t have the capacity to provide enough chill water.

    (and it didn’t help the Riverfront Research people made us spend an additional $12 million and counting for aesthetic reasons, and to keep the old building instead of starting from scratch, which would have been too easy I guess, too easy and cheaper)

    10 years ago the amount of money in deferred maintenance was $600 million. So how much more is it now than it was then? Beats me. But it isn ‘t as if we have had the money to do much about it. It seems to take special acts of the state legislature to do anything that is desperately need on campus. See the above paragraph.

    We can only hope right now that our new UO Board will be better able to ensure funding that the legislature was. We, the CPS, can now support expanded campus needs of chill water, heating, and electrical consumption. Being a season football ticket holder since 1987, I do hope that these miracle donors can make an effort to the south side of millrace, as well as the north side of Autzen. yeah, right.

    Jay VanOrman class of 2013, English, Co-Generation Engineer

  • Student

    How much money goes to subsidizing these buildings and services from the general fund? From what I’ve heard it’s $400,000+ a year for bond payments to support Matt Knight Arena, $2,000,000+ a year for athlete only tutoring, and who knows how much for electricity and staff costs at these buildings. For me, being given a bunch of garish buildings that increase the “prestige” and cost for the UO, but provide no academic benefit, then being asked to subsidize the yearly upkeep of those buildings, doesn’t feel like I’m getting a gift. It feels like my tuition is going to pay the yearly operating costs for pet projects I won’t use and then I’m being told I should be grateful. Raise Phil Kight’s taxes instead of giving Nike guaranteed tax rates for the next 30 years and let’s invest in a university for everyone.

  • oscar

    Deady is a bad, bad building. But this article is incorrect about the technology: it does have laptop hookup projectors in some of the rooms. When a building has a room that *only* has an oldschool overhead projector (Deady 206), there’s really no reason to resort to hyperbole. They actual facts about that building are plenty surprising to get the point across.

    Also, AC isn’t a luxury–at least in Deady. The windows don’t open all the way, which is pretty miserable if you have an afternoon class on the south side of the building in Fall or Spring (forget about Summer).

  • GradStudent

    Didn’t Knight try donating to academics a while back and students protested against taking his “bad” money (made from cheap labor and all)?? Maybe don’t bite the hand that’s trying to feed you. And where were these articles when the $65 million dollar Lewis Science Building opened? Like Hatfield-Dowlin, donations made this possible, but this building is academic. Both buildings are very specialized, so most students won’t set foot in them. But its benefitting someone, so what’s wrong with it? I love our football program and all the attention it gets our school. It doesn’t feel good when no one has ever heard of your college- or so I’ve heard.