TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The idea of an indoor athletic facility at the University of South Florida has been an idea for years.
Finally, on Wednesday afternoon, Michael Kelly, the vice president of athletics, and Jeff Scott, the head coach of the football team, hosted a Zoom meeting to confirm that that idea is coming to fruition.
“I am pleased today to offer a revised vision and a timeline,” said Kelly.
He elaborated on the first phase of the project, which is privately funded. It includes a $3 million renovation of the Lee Roy Selmon Athletics Center. Those improvements will start after the conclusion of the spring practices and are intended to revamp the branding of the building, the team meeting room, and the locker room.
This phase also includes the construction of an indoor performance facility. The $22 million practice facility, which will be 88,000 square feet, will encapsulate an entire football field. It will be built on an existing athletic field on campus. That field is located to the west of Sycamore Drive. The construction of that facility will begin at the end of this summer and it is expected to be finished before the student-athletes return to campus in the summer of 2022.
The university posted this image of the future facility on Twitter on Tuesday.
“It shows a commitment to building a championship program,” said Scott.
He admitted he has been sharing this development with the players he has been recruiting over the past few months.
“We have had to get the recruits and families to promise not to discuss this until we could announce it publicly,” said Scott.
He has had to rearrange or cancel football practices on a consistent basis due to the weather but, now, he has a future solution to that problem.
“That is a huge piece of it,” he said. “Our football players, their day is really filled up. It is complete. If we have some weather that comes through, we cannot just postpone practice.”
Kelly stated that the details of the second phase of this project will be announced at a later date and they will focus on the construction of a football operations center.