Phase I of the facility opened in May 2006, but due to the university’s changes in administration, completion of the entire project had been delayed.
“The building was supposed to be continually joined,” said Gei-Nam Lim, associate director of campus recreation. “Phase II is joined to Phase I. Even though the money came in 2006, we have had so many changes among presidents the last few years so everything was pushed back.”
The money that Lim is referring to is almost $7 million that the state legislature set aside via the Capital Improvement Trust Fund. Phase II will cost $2.7 million and Phase III is expected to cost about $4 million.
Phase II officially broke ground on Monday, Feb. 15, and is expected to be finished before the end of 2010. The additions will include two basketball courts, two racquetball courts, a rock climbing wall, and a nutrition/wellness suite. All of Phase II will be indoors.
Three to four months from now, Phase III of the project will begin. This final stage is entirely outdoors and will cover 30 acres of land. It is slated to be complete by March 2011 and will include two flag football fields, two softball fields, a soccer field, a golf driving range, three basketball courts, and two beach volleyball courts.
Lim said add-ons will not only improve student life but also intramural sports.
“In the last five years, four times we have been national flag football champions and we barely even have a field,” he said.
“For a campus of this size, being the largest [HBCU] institution, this will really help students stay health and stay active. When you look at the research, those with the healthier body always do better in school.”
Lindsay Anderson, 20, a junior graphic design student from Fayetteville, N.C., is pleased with the plans and anxious to see the facility when it is finished.
“I like the fact that they’re adding basketball courts and an extended bar where you can buy food and drinks. I always thought the one that we had was too small,” she said.
Samad Nurideen, a junior electrical engineering student from Newark, N.J., said the most beneficial part of the new activities that will be offered is that students at Florida A&M can now participate in sports that they would had to venture off campus to find.
“It will attract different audiences. You’ll have the kids that want to play ball, then the people who may want to do the rock climbing,” Nurideen said. “The racquetball is something our generation isn’t familiar with so that might be something people might want to try.”
Construction of the new facilities will also include 37 new paved parking spaces.