On Aug. 1, Florida Southern College President, Dr. Anne Kerr and others broke ground at the demolition site of the L.N. Pipkin Bandshell, making way for a new campus facility.
The Bandshell was first constructed in 1941 and served as an entertainment venue for students to gather and watch performances. It was named for L.N. Pipkin, an early trustee who aided FSC’s move to Lakeland.
Aside from being a music venue, the Bandshell has had many other purposes over the years. The McKay Archives notes that the FSC Center for Student Involvement had the bandshell as its headquarters.The venue also served as a meeting ground for many events over its years of service, mainly after having been supplanted for concerts and other musical events by the Branscomb Auditorium, which was constructed in 1963.
Starting in the fall semester of 2020, the Bandshell became the location where the school would perform both scheduled and randomized COVID-19 tests as part of the FSCares program’s efforts to minimize the effect of the pandemic on the student population.
When the school began winding down the FSCares program, the Bandshell returned to miscellaneous usage. Sorority Kappa Delta and Fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon both have had events located at the Bandshell for many years. The same goes for groups such as Studio Box and Beyond who have performed at the venue.
“It was just a cool space,” Kappa Delta Junior Alina Jeglie said, “it’s just sad to see it go.”
The demolition has also left many lamenting a lack of announcement or fanfare regarding the event, citing having received no news on the plan until after the Bandshell had been razed.
“I was shocked, I didn’t find out about the building being destroyed until afterwards.” Jeglie said.
A new facility in its place
In the Bandshell’s place, FSC intends to place an athletic facility to assist the school’s various Division-II programs.
The athletic facility has been funded by Bob and Ginny Adams, and will bear their name as the “Adams Athletic Performance Center.” Much like other buildings on campus, the new athletic facility will be inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s design philosophy, and will provide around 16,000 square feet of space for student athletes.
“There is such intense competition not only to attract athletes, but to keep them here,” donor Bob Adams said. “I am confident that this project will be a huge jewel in the future of Florida Southern athletics.”
According to the FSC website, some of the features of the building will include a locker room for the women’s lacrosse team, a theater for film review, and a conference room.
Director of Athletics and Dean of Wellness Drew Howard emphasized the importance of a new facility to the athletic teams’ performance on the field.
“This new state-of-the-art facility will give our current strength and conditioning coaches the ability to fully train our student-athletes so they can get the best results possible on the court, field, or track,” Howard said. “The facility will also give our coaches another edge in recruiting.”
It is the hope of the donors and athletic faculty at FSC that this facility will provide student-athletes and coaches with the necessary tools to improve their performance on the field through preparation and review using the building’s many functions.
FSC President Anne Kerr is also optimistic about the positive impact that the new facility will have on the FSC athletics programs.
“FSC has 30 national championships and is excited about continuing our scholar-athlete winning tradition,” Kerr said.