SBD/June 18, 2012/Facilities

Jaguars Announce Plans To Build New On-Site Practice Facility

A location for the projected $10M indoor practice facility has yet to be determined
The Jaguars have “decided to build an indoor practice facility,” and team President Mark Lamping said that the facility would “likely fall under the financial responsibility of the Jaguars and that it would probably cost more than $10 million,” according to Tania Ganguli of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. The project is “still in the planning stages,” and neither a “location nor the type of indoor facility has been determined yet.” Jaguars Senior VP/Stadium Operations & CFO Bill Prescott said that talks "began in 2005 but never went further." Prescott said, “We took a look at the costs of doing it and the benefits. It just didn’t work out in terms of going forward. It rebubbled up in the past three, four weeks, I’d say. Especially in terms of the tropical storm and how it wrecked havoc." Prescott indicated that the south end zone of EverBank Field is “an option for the location of the facility.” Still unclear is “whether it will be a practice bubble or a more permanent metal building." Having it off-site is “not an option because the Jaguars want to be able to move practice indoors at a moment’s notice in case of, for example, an unexpected thunderstorm.” It will also be “used for events throughout the year.” The “earliest the facility could be ready is next year.” The city is beginning a $2.8M project at EverBank Field, most of which “will go toward upgrading the sound system so it will emanate from all over the stadium, rather than just the scoreboard.” The sound-system upgrade “will cost $2 million.” An upgrade to the beer lines “will cost $300,000, and other smaller upgrades will account for the remaining $500,000.” Cellphone towers and Wi-Fi installation in the stadium “are also in the works, a project worth $1.5 million, in which the telecommunications providers will invest and will not cost the city or the Jaguars” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 6/16).

DEVIL IN THE DETAILS: In Jacksonville, Michael Clinton notes improvements at EverBank Field will total about $7.5M and funding for the upgrades “comes from the city’s Sports Complex Maintenance Improvement Fund, which receives 2 percent of the 6 percent hotel bed tax.” Prescott said that the new sound system “will have the biggest impact this year.” Prescott: “We all realized the sound system is something that is critical and it took a while to design a system. I think our fans will find that to be the most dramatic improvement.” New arrays of speakers “will be placed in the light towers, in the north end zone and the wall where the electronic ribbon boards are mounted.” Prescott: “You normally wouldn’t think it would make a big impact, but after having been to Metlife and Cowboys stadiums, you see how big of an impact it is.” Meanwhile, Clinton notes some of the features for the new practice facility “include more lockers, a ‘spa look’ in the bathrooms and an overall upgrade in terms of looks and amenities.” The weight room, which “already has a preliminary design, will be Phase two of the upgrades,” and will start “after the 2012 season finishes.” Prescott: “We want to be able to demonstrate to free agents that the facility is state-of-the-art” (JACKSONVILLE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/15 issue).
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