Vision of new facility invigorates

Anticipation is bouncing all around the athletic department these days, and it’s just not for the new arena being built.

It’s because a new sports facility housing all teams that currently play in the Jake E. Gaither gymnasium will be constructed over the band field and ready to be used by the 2005-2006 season.

“Everyone is excited about our new arena,” said men’s basketball coach Mike Gillespie. “I could hope it will bring fans to the games, but winning brings fans to the game.”

The new facility is expected to hold 11,000 spectators for home games. The venue won’t just be an arena for sporting events though as it will house classrooms and physical education offices.

Gillespie said to have this building constructed by the 2005-2006 season, the state will have to pay $30 million. The only way for the school to receive that state funding was if the athletic department made the facility into a teaching center as well.

The blueprints also show cushioned seats and an indoor track as additions for the arena. Braun Cartwright, director of Facilities and Travel said, “11,000 seats will look real good on our resume if we want to join a conference to compete in.”

The luxuries included are expected to be state-of-the art for everyone to be happy with the upgrade.

“Volleyball and basketball will have their own offices, along with physical education”, said Interim Athletic Director Dr. J.R.E. Lee III.

As the move to Division I-A continues to progress, the arena could assist in attracting even more prestigious colleges to play in Tallahassee. Furthermore, the glamour of the new arena will attract an increased number of blue chip players from across the nation.

With the basketball team on the rise, its games will be broadcast nationwide on live television as early as the 2005-2006 season, Gillespie said.

“It will make fans come out to games, maybe not for the event but the fact that they came to see the new venue,” Cartwright mentioned.

This new arena is only one of many stepping-stones in the long walk of campus continuous improvement, including the new wing of the library and the state-of-the-art journalism school.

Greg Miller can be reached at