Big changes coming to UNF athletic facilities in 2020 and beyond

Zachary Yearwood, Staff Reporter

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You may have noticed construction near the walkway to campus from Parking Lot 18 and by the softball field. These are just some of the upgrades coming to UNF’s athletics facilities in the next few years. UNF’s Athletic Director Lee Moon sat down with Spinnaker and spoke about upcoming plans.

The softball complex is currently undergoing a renovation which will add covered bleachers above the press box. These new stands will add approximately 300 seats overlooking the field from behind home plate. 

Construction began shortly before the fall semester ended and is expected to be completed before the season begins in February. 

Additionally, volleyball fanatics can look forward to The Cooper Beach Volleyball Complex, or “The Coop”. 

 The Coop “will feature five courts, digital scoreboard and bleachers that can seat a capacity of 300 people,” per the university’s press release in September. 

Photo by Zachary Yearwood

 The new complex will finally give the school’s beach volleyball team an NCAA-regulation beach volleyball facility. It also allows UNF to host volleyball tournaments on campus instead of going to Jacksonville Beach, where the UNF Invitational has been held in years past.

 Students will also be able to enjoy free time in The Coop if not in use by the volleyball team.

 “We’re going to allow [students] to have the ability to share it,” Coach Moon said. “We certainly think it’s going to be a nice facility that we will allow students, if they want to have a beach volleyball tournament, to do things like that.”

 Construction of The Coop should be finished by the end of January; in time for the beginning of the beach volleyball team’s season.

Photo by Zachary Yearwood

One smaller change coming this year is the replacement of the side bleachers in the UNF Arena. This will begin in March, after basketball season and should be completed by graduation in May.

 Coach Moon also told Spinnaker about plans to insert a swimming pool next to the Student Wellness Center, replacing the old beach volleyball court. This would give a new home to the university’s swimming team, who have been practicing at Bolles High School since 2015 when the Aquatic Center became the Field House. Coach Moon is hopeful this project will be completed by March 2021.

Other plans on Coach Moon’s wish list include changing the grass on the intramural field to turf, adding a batting cage for softball, refurbishing the track, upgrading the strength and conditioning room, improving the bleachers overlooking the baseball field and constructing a standalone soccer facility. 

 Fundraising, Coach Moon said, has proven to be the greatest challenge to implementing these ambitious plans.

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