Redskins training camp on schedule for July opening

By Michael Phillips

Mark Hourigan has supervised large-scale construction projects across Richmond, but this is the first one that’s turned him into a local celebrity.

His company, Hourigan Construction, is building the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center on Leigh Street, and the clock is ticking.

The training camp starts July 25. An official announcement is expected Monday.

So will the job be finished on time?

“It was a very aggressive timeline,” Hourigan said. “And we are absolutely on track for that timeline. We are dead on schedule, and maybe even a little ahead.”

He’s fielded that question constantly, whether it’s at the gym in the morning or while he’s eating lunch.

“Only everywhere I go,” he said with a laugh. “There is a lot of interest and a lot of excitement.”

And that excitement isn’t limited to the community: Hourigan said many of his workers are wearing Redskins-branded hard hats.

There are three main components to the project, all of which are targeted for a July 1 finish. Hourigan detailed the progress on each in an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch last week:

SEATING AREA: Fans will have a terraced area from which to watch workouts. The grading has been done to ready the land, and walls are going into place this week.

THE FIELDS: The Redskins will have two full-size fields plus a smaller area for drills.

The sod for those fields is being grown off-site and will be in place in about two weeks.

“There was a tremendous amount of soil work that had to be done,” Hourigan said. “It will be a Bermuda grass field. It’ll come from the sod farm in about 10 days’ time, and then we’ll be watering the heck out of it — which is what you do with new sod.”

People driving by the site have already noticed the goal posts have been installed on the fields.

THE BUILDING: A two-story, 40,000-square-foot Field House has been erected. It will contain the lockers and meeting rooms for the team, as well as offices for a Bon Secours health clinic.

Late last week, power connections were being run into the building, which is now fully enclosed and air-conditioned.

Light fixtures will be installed this week, with the locker room, laundry area and fitness center areas ready to be equipped by the end of the month.

In addition to the three main areas, there will be a small parking lot for team and Bon Secours use.

Hourigan said that while it isn’t the largest project he’s worked on, the tight timetable has kept things frenzied over the past five months.

He’s also had to answer to multiple bosses. The city of Richmond, Bon Secours and the Redskins all have a stake in the facility.

The project is being paid for through a $10 million “recoverable grant” from the city to the Richmond Economic Development Authority, which is responsible for building and operating the training camp facility.
The grant is set up to be recouped over a 10-year period through sponsorships and leases.

Bon Secours Richmond Health System has already committed to pay nearly $6.4 million in naming rights and lease payments for the training camp facility, which the health system will also use for sports medicine and men’s health offices when the Redskins aren’t in town.
Bon Secours made its first payment of $831,250 to the Economic Development Authority in March, said Rich Johnson, chairman of the EDA board. There are plans to rent out a 20,000-square-foot, second-floor space at the facility, though tenants won’t be signed until the Redskins are finished with the camp for this year.

“At this stage of the game, the main focus is to get the building and grounds finished,” Johnson said.

City taxpayers’ investment in the camp will be repaid “as fast as practicable,” Johnson said, most likely through twice-yearly payments, though he added it was too soon to say when those might start.
Hourigan said he hasn’t lacked for resources at any point.

“It’s really been a project that people have dedicated a tremendous amount of time to,” he said. “It’s been done the right way, all the way down to the most basic construction details.”

Hourigan’s firm also built Robins Stadium on the University of Richmond campus and the Siegel Center at Virginia Commonwealth University, which were strong references when the Redskins work became available.

“This project is similar in that there is no wiggle room here,” said Hourigan, who is the company’s CEO. “This job cannot be late, and won’t be late.”

Copyright Richmond Times-Dispatch.  Used by permission