Florida Southern College has been anticipating a new athletic complex for a long time. The construction of the Barnett Athletic Complex was to start in January, but was pushed to late February.
According to Athletic Director Pete Meyer, the construction of the complex should start shortly. He is not sure of the exact start date, since the date depends on the permits from the City of Lakeland. For the construction to start, the architects and engineers must finish the blueprints, and the City of Lakeland must approve of them.
Although there is a delay, FSC still plans on having the sports complex completed by the start of soccer season in early August. The project has only been pushed back a few weeks, and it isn’t going to push the grand opening date back.
Meyer said that they should start construction within a two-week time period. The school is using different contractors and architecture companies than the administration building so that the two projects will not interfere with each other.
“It’s a huge step forward for not only the beautification of the campus, and to recruit better student athletes, but it should add significantly to school spirit and student participation and involvement,” Meyer said.
The major differences between the current field and the new field is that the new field will hold more students with the grandstands. It will have state-of-the-art dugouts with restrooms, a better playing surface, a new scoreboard, brand new lighting and permanent fencing to meet all the NCAArequirements. The field will also be transitional so that they can play soccer in the fall and softball in the spring.
“It will allow us to have less stress and we will finally have fans at games who could not come because they had no transportation to games. We will have more school support, which is exciting,” women’s Lacrosse player Taylor Gillis said.
The new sports complex will not only help bring school spirit to campus, but it will also make things easier on both athletes and athletic trainers.
“Since the field will be occupied by more teams, we won’t have to travel for practices,”Athletic training major Heather Barkley said. “It will be nice because traveling for practices every day is not the easiest.”
When the construction does start, the school has made accommodations so that all of the sports teams practicing will be practicing off campus, so the construction can take place.
They also said that the walkway behind Jenkins Fieldhouse will be closed for a certain amount of time, so students who take that route to class should be aware. Additionally, when construction starts there is no guarantee that that sidewalk will remain with the new complex.
Though the late start on the construction of the field is unfortunate, it will not mess up any of the plans to bring this complex to Florida Southern campus.