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Athletic facility on the way

USF’s long-awaited athletic facility may finally turn from idea to reality.

President Judy Genshaft said Wednesday that she expected ground to break by January on the new complex that would house all USF athletics.

“We desperately need that athletic facility,” Genshaft said. “It will help our recruitment of student-athletes tremendously.”

Without wet labs or any other major complications, Genshaft said she expected the project to be completed by the fall of 2003. The proposed facility would be the size of a football field and occupy more than 100,000 square feet. The project is just one of many construction assignments in progress as Genshaft said there is more than $100 million worth of building taking place at USF.

Both Genshaft and senior Associate Athletic Director Barbara Sparks-McGlinchy confirmed that the financing was in place to pay for the project, which is believed to cost USF between $15-18 million. The university had been waiting to settle bond issues before final plans on the facility could be made.

“All of that should be moving forward the way it should be,” Sparks-McGlinchy said.

Although she said she’s sat in on some design meeting, Sparks-McGlinchy couldn’t confirm a January 2003 ground breaking.

“If that’s what President Genshaft said, then it must be correct,” Sparks-McGlinchy said.

Both Sparks-McGlinchy and Athletics Director Lee Roy Selmon state that even though Deputy Athletics Director Corey Johnson played a big part in the project, things would still move on schedule, even with Johnson’s resignation.

“It’s now time to put this behind us,” Selmon said in a statement Thursday following Johnson’s resignation. “Our athletics program has a great deal of momentum, with football headed for Conference USA and a new athletics facility breaking ground soon. We do not want to miss a beat, so it’s time to move on.”

Added Sparks-McGlinchy: “I believe the project will continue to move forward. It is in good enough shape that there should be no delay.”