University Park Center one step in UWF expansion

By Morgan Givens
Staff Writer

The University of West Florida’s athletics program continues to grow with the incoming University Park Center, which is still under construction. This new facility will provide upgrades to both an athletics and academics.

The University Park Center is a 32,700 square foot, $7 million facility. The first floor will be the home of the football team’s locker rooms, weight room and equipment room. The second floor will be split between the College of Health and the Florida State University College of Medicine. The top floor will also contain class rooms, clinical labs and meeting spaces for the two departments.

With the new football facilities moving to the center, the players will be able to enjoy the perks of the new building.

“I can’t wait for my own space,” wide receiver Quentin Randolph said. “I’m ready to be able to sit by my own locker and vibe with my teammates. I’m also really excited for the new weight room.”

Space has become an issue for the athletic department prior to the new facility, according to Athletic Director David Scott. All the athletic teams were forced to work within the field house, and it has caused the department to make major adjustments to efficiently use the space it is given.

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(Photo by Morgan Givens)

Along with the regular weight room in the field house, a storage room has also been cleared out to house another exercise location for athletes.

The football players currently use trailers outside the football field as a locker facility. The new center aims to wipe out those issues with that space and new equipment, according to Scott.

“It’s a numbers game,” Scott said. “How many people can use the space, how many can you run through there? And the challenge is that they’re students first, so you got to work their regimens between their class schedules and you got to do that for 400 athletes, so this new space allows us to run more people through.”

In terms of progress, the University Park Center is three weeks behind schedule, which is due to the rainy summer. The goal is to be moved in and operating by January, according to Scott.

The center is a part of a vision the university is working toward, with new facilities such as a football stadium and event center. According to Scott, funding is the main decider of what comes next working toward the master plan and how long it will take to achieve the school’s vision.

“The Park Center is the only thing that’s funded right now,” Scott said, “so what’s next far as how we move forward is what we get funding for. We have the new facility and the field and those are positive things to start with. For the time being while we wait on funding, we have plans for renovations and hopes to do things in the future for athletic training.”

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