For those of us (ALL OF US) who watched the Syracuse vs. Maryland game on Saturday, you probably noticed that little video segment on the long-awaited Orange football indoor practice facility coming back from one of the commercial breaks. Well today, Syracuse.com's Brent Axe brings us some photos of the structure, as well as a new date for its completion.
The specifics, some of which you knew already:
- Going up right next to Manley Field House on South Campus
- 87,000 square feet
- Field is the same size as the football field at the Carrier Dome
- Should be open on December 1
... that last one's new, obviously, and it looks like the square-footage bumped up about 5,000 feet since our last update back in July. Cost is still $17 million, to my knowledge.
Overall, we're pleased with this development, but Sean and felt it necessary to dive in a little bit more. With some questions. Like:
How do you feel about the practice facility progress, and do you believe the Dec. 1 target date for it to finish? What type of impact do you think it will have on the program and recruiting, long-term?
Covering real estate and construction as I do for my other gig, I just have such a hard time believing that they'll be able to finish this facility in such a short amount of time. It's possible, but these things have a way of getting delayed. Which is FINE. If it doesn't open until February instead of December, who cares? So long as it's ready for the 2015 season, that's all that matters at this point. I just don't trust anyone who harps on quick deadlines when it comes to large-scale construction.
Long-term...here's the unfortunate thing. This facility doesn't put us ahead of anyone. This facility simply allows us to catch up. This facility puts us at the baseline, the minimum requirements of doing business as a Power 5 conference school. It's great that we're doing it and it should be a huge help for the program, but let's not pretend this is something that 90% of schools out there don't already have or will have within a couple years.
With "Groundbreak" followed by "Groundbreak 2: The Re-Breaking," followed by permitting back-and-forth, getting this thing built within six months of the July 2014 official start seemed unlikely. Yet, here we are, with a firm date... in 2014, somehow. Last time we'd checked in with the University, the only thing they'd provided was a couple "soons" so this is progress. But as Sean mentions, is this realistic? I'm no construction expert, but I'd find it hard to believe that this thing is completely wrapped up by December 1 -- but I guess the alternative is the spring of 2015, right, given Syracuse winters? Having this thing ready to close the deal on class of 2015 recruits would certainly be huge, so December is the preferred timing if doable.
Long-term, we're now fighting at the same weight as some of the other middle-of-the-road institutions in the ACC and Big Ten, which was very much needed. Yes, we're getting into conversations with recruits holding offers from elite teams, but until we close the deal, that doesn't matter a whole lot. While it's not the end-all be-all, the indoor practice facility does give us something to hang our hats on and prove to these kids that we're not just a "basketball school." Though speaking of, the Melo Center has done wonders for the program... and it would be nice to spread some of those good vibes to the gridiron as well.
So what do you think? Excited to see the updated timeline? Confused as to how this thing's being built so quickly? Think it'll have any impact at all on recruiting? Share your thoughts below.