The Kansas City Chiefs will pack their bags and make the trip up to River Falls, WI at the end of this month. Most folks are assuming this will be the last time the team makes its way to the UW-RF campus for training camp.
That assumption could be wrong.
What many folks don't know is that the Chiefs are actually entering the first of a two year deal with UW-RF. Year two, however, is an option year for the Chiefs where they can decide 'yes or no' on the final year. The reasoning behind the deal is that construction on the new training camp facilities in St. Joseph just broke ground on June 29th and there's no guarantee construction will be on pace to be completed a year from now when 2010 training camp will commence.
Chiefs President Denny Thum recentlly spoke with Mary Halada, UW-RF vice chancellor emeritus, and was granted an extension to the date on which they must notify UW-RF of their plans for 2010. October 1st is the new date and is a "few months" extension according to Phil Pfuehler of the River Falls Journal.
So what this boils down to is that the Thum and the Chiefs will have to determine by October 1st if the St. Joseph facilities will be ready by approximately August 1st of 2010.
Predicting the completion date of a large construction project 10 months in advance? Don't be so quick to assume this will be the last time the Chiefs make the trip up to River Falls. If there's any doubt that the facilities in St. Joseph won't be ready, I do not expect Thum to put the team in any situation where they might not have a concrete plan for the approximate August 1st, 2010 start of training camp.
This is partly the reason the UW-RF administration hasn't been aggressive in pursuing another NFL tenant for its facilities next year. Following 2010, however, school officials are interested in bringing another team in. The economic boost to the school, less than six figures, pales in comparison to the $1-2 million boom to the rest of the River Falls community but still brings plenty of media attention to the school and city.