After plans for construction were first unveiled in 2017, Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly announced Wednesday afternoon the university’s plan to begin building an indoor performance facility, in addition to renovating the Lee Roy Selmon Athletics Center.
The new indoor performance building will cost $22 million while the renovations to the Selmon Athletics Center will cost $3 million, according to Kelly. Both expenditures are privately funded through donors, with the facility’s construction set to begin by the end of the summer, and ready for use by summer 2022.
Kelly said that the university will be moving in phases to complete the task of upgrading the on-campus athletic facilities. The construction of the indoor practice facility and the renovations to the Selmon Athletics Center are all part of phase one.
“We still have all the same visions that we’ve had for our facilities that have ever been shared with you, but we’re now going to work in phases,” Kelly said.
The indoor performance center will be an 88,000-square-foot building and include features such as climate control, a lobby and an observation deck. The facility will be located on the site of the athletics turf field, west of Sycamore Drive.
“[The facility] will encapsulate an entire football field, be climate controlled, and have a wonderful lobby and observation deck,” he said. “It’ll be used obviously for football, [and] for all of our athletic teams for practice and performance training.”
Not only will the facility be used just for athletic practice and training, it will also host a variety of on-campus events.
“The plan will also be to be able to hold other athletic events, other university events, foundation events … because quite frankly our campus can really use another venue of this magnitude, and it’ll be a huge asset to our campus,” Kelly said.
The renovations to the Selmon Athletics Center are set to improve facilities such as the locker room, lounge areas, the team meeting room as well as build a new nutrition area for the student-athletes.
“[The renovations to the Selmon Athletics Center will] make enhancements to the team meeting room, a meeting room that all of us at USF Athletics use, and a total renovation of the locker room to create not only a better facility for our student-athletes, but also a lounge space, new nutrition area and everything that our football team needs in our existing facility for the time being,” Kelly said.
The renovations are expected to begin quickly following the conclusion of spring practice, and are anticipated to be completed by August so that the football team can begin training in a new and improved athletics facility.
“We will start this process soon after spring practice is over,” Kelly said. “So we’re planning to play our spring game on March 27, we’re going to shortly thereafter start this renovation with the idea that we’re going to have everything done when our student-athletes get ready for summer camp here in late July, early August that they’ll be moving into a new aspect of the Lee Roy Selmon Athletics Center.
“We’re excited to make those very immediate improvements to get ready for this upcoming football season.”
Finishing the renovations at the Selmon Athletics Center and the construction of the indoor performance facility will mark the completion of phase one. Phase two will include other projects including a football operations building.
“Phase two will still include the various things that we anticipate and have planned for a football operations building in the future,” Kelly said. “We’re identifying and have identified where our site for that will be, but we just knew it was practical now to make the immediate adjustments to [the] Selmon [Athletics Center], and then obviously make the indoor performance center a reality.”
The improvements have already begun paying off and will continue to pay off in recruiting players, football coach Jeff Scott said.
“We’ve been using this in recruiting probably for the last couple of months, just some of the general pictures and talking about it,” Scott said. “It has a huge impact on recruiting because it’s often been said, people buy with their eyes … I think it sends a message, as these recruits, the high school coaches, the people around this state see that we’re making a commitment to building new facilities.
“There’s a renewed energy and excitement, and it just shows a commitment to building a championship program.”
Scott said the new construction will provide immediate benefits to the football team and entire athletics program.
“This is obviously a very exciting time, for us to start spring practice yesterday, and also to be talking about our new facilities moving forward,” Scott said. “I think it’s a time for great momentum within our football program and our athletic department.”