Athletics Groundbreaking set for March 23

Stetson University will celebrate the return of Hatter Football, introduction of Women’s Lacrosse, Stetson’s outstanding Men’s and Women’s Soccer programs and the new on-campus facilities being constructed at an Athletics Expansion Groundbreaking Celebration at 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 23.

The celebration will be held at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center, 402 E. University Ave., DeLand. It is open to the public.

Remarks will be made by Director of Athletics Jeff Altier, softball player and Student Athlete Advisory Committee President Carolyn Boyd, Head Women’s Soccer Coach Julie Orlowski, Head Football Coach Roger Hughes, DeLand Mayor Robert Apgar, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Harlan “Butch” Paul and President Wendy B. Libby.

A special signing ceremony will be held with guests having the opportunity to sign a lacrosse stick, a football helmet and a soccer ball – representing the joint use of the new athletics complex.

“Through these athletic initiatives, the university is taking significant steps toward enhancing the vibrancy of campus and growing the student population by adding a Club Sports program, and three intercollegiate athletic teams – Sand Volleyball, Women’s Lacrosse and Football,” Altier said. “The engagement of students surrounding these initiatives has proven to be successful and will continue to be significant as the number of students involved in intercollegiate and club sports will grow to more than 650 students by 2013.”

Construction is already under way on the $6.7 million worth of athletics facilities that will benefit the new programs and enhance existing sports at Stetson. Hatter Football will return and Women’s Lacrosse will start in 2013. The complex is scheduled to open in August.

The project includes an Athletics Field House, a game-day field to be shared by Men’s and Women’s Soccer and Women’s Lacrosse, a practice field for soccer and lacrosse and two practice fields for football, complete with lights and bleacher seating for the game-day field. Within the 25,000-square-foot Field House will be a strength-and-conditioning center to be used by all Stetson athletes, locker rooms, coaches’ offices, athletics training facilities and meeting rooms.

The complex was designed in consultation with the coaches and Athletics staff and is being built by BACE Construction, DeLand. The architect is Carter Architecture, DeLand. The fields were designed by Brown and Cullen, Gainesville.