UWF Presents Athletics Facilities Master Plan at Press Conference
PENSACOLA, Fla. – The University of West Florida Department of Intercollegiate Athletics presented the current version of its facilities master plan at a press conference at the Argonaut Athletic Club on Wednesday. The master plan was developed by EMO/ARCHITECTS, INC. as a part of the athletics visioning process which began in January 2009.
UWF partnered with EMO to assess the current condition of the university’s athletic facilities, including interviews, surveys and interactive workshops with coaches, staff, student-athletes and other key stakeholders. During the press conference, EMO presented the current version of the athletics master plan, including concept drawings and project maps for proposed future improvements in the University Park and East Sports Complex areas of campus.
“EMO has captured our vision and spirit,” said UWF President Judith Bense. “Our vision has changed. Our spirit is moving forward and planning for the future using athletics as the front porch of our institution.”
The University Park area is envisioned as the core of student life on campus, and a proposed location for a football stadium was included in this area of the master plan. Bense plans to make a decision on the potential addition of a football team at UWF in the summer of 2011 after the conclusion of studies related to facilities, fundraising and Title IX.
Other potential improvements in the University Park area include a renovated and expanded field house and aquatic center, a student union, an events center and a bell tower. Four future structures are also included that could be used for academics, administration, student affairs or other related services. Finally, the center of this location includes a lawn with an Argonaut statue through the center walkway.
“The proposed University Park area creates an integrated atmosphere for athletics and academics,” said UWF Athletic Director Dave Scott. “This is an area where UWF students will create memories. When students receive their diplomas, these areas will remind them of great student life experiences at the University of West Florida.”
The East Sports Complex currently includes the UWF baseball, soccer and softball fields, and in the proposed improvements an outdoor tennis complex has been added to the plan as well as intramural fields connected to the campus cross country course. In the master plan, the soccer game field is shifted to the middle tier of the complex occupying the space where the alternate softball field is currently. The lower tier, which is the location of the current soccer game field, includes a renovated track and field area in the master plan.
A pavilion is featured in the middle of the East Sports Complex in the master plan, which includes locker room facilities for outdoor sports, covered batting cages, and other potential spaces for administrative and coaches’ offices as well as classrooms and other meeting areas. A permanent seating structure for the proposed new soccer field is also connected to the pavilion. Finally, a potential promenade area between the renovated baseball and softball stadiums is proposed that can include a common area between the fields for concessions and other items.
“The East Sports Complex will create a great game environment,” said Scott. “It will provide us with great venues to host intercollegiate events and the ability to host NCAA championships. Having one facility that houses student-athletes instead of the temporary facilities we have now will help recruit student-athletes in the future. This area also creates opportunities for an enhanced student atmosphere with multiple areas for sports programs, which will help make this area of an active part of campus life.”
At its Dec. 10 meeting, the UWF Board of Trustees will have the opportunity to approve in principle the athletics facilities master plan and include it in the next university master plan update in 2011, which will provide planning guidelines as the department moves forward with any construction and renovation projects.
“It is important to plan for the future even during tough economic times,” said Scott. “We believe that being strategic about where you place facilities is a better business model than dealing with them on a case-by-case basis.”
For information on all UWF Athletics, visit www.GoArgos.com.