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Last updated: Sat. Feb. 09, 2013 - 04:03 am EDT

Saint Francis looks to build at football stadium

A new facility will house visiting teams and 'suites' for fans

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The University of Saint Francis plans to build a training and locker room facility at Bishop D'Arcy Stadium that will double as a fan-friendly viewing area for football games this fall.

A $1 million donation spurred discussion how best to use the money, and the athletic department settled on adding to the football complex. The building will be 12,000 square feet and will cost between $1 million and $1.5 million, so some additional fundraising will take place, Saint Francis Athletic Director Mike McCaffrey said.

“We have had one small fitness center on campus that everybody tries to share, so this should be beneficial to all students, not just the student athletes,” McCaffrey said.

The structure, pending city zoning approval, will be built near the south end zone of the football stadium. The area will replace the tent viewing area that has been used for football games.

“We'll have the training center for student athletes and then have a party deck for fans on game day,” McCaffrey said. “It will be kind of like a TinCaps suite, with six different sections. Basically, we're taking the tents down there, getting rid of those, and putting those groups on top of the building.”

McCaffrey hopes construction can begin in time for the facility to be ready for the September opening of the 2013 football season.

The visiting team will use the locker rooms in the building on game days. The current visitors locker room in the main football building adjacent to the stadium will be converted into yet undetermined use, McCaffrey said.

The new facility will be used for other sports events, too. There will be additional rest rooms in the building for fans to use.

“Now that we have (stadium) lights, we don't to restrict what we can host at the field, based on locker room accessibility,” McCaffrey said. “Not only can it house a visiting team on (football) game day, we can use it for soccer tournaments. It's another avenue to put people in and provide space.”

The new training facility should also lighten the traffic in the current training facility, allowing non-athletes and faculty to have a less-congested area to use, McCaffrey said.

rhayes@news-sentinel.com


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