With major renovations to the USF St. Petersburg campus starting in just weeks, there are also plans to expand campus recreation and intramural sports.
As part of the future changes, the Campus Activities Center will be transformed into a full-fledged student union.
“The idea is to have a one-stop shop for students all in one place,” said James Scott, Student Government president. But this also means the current indoor basketball court in the CAC core will be eliminated.
However, there is talk of constructing a large multipurpose room in the newly designed facility for various sports, such as the new dodgeball and grappling clubs.
“My recommendation would be a room that is 80 feet long by 45 feet wide with a storage closet,” said Todd Clark, intramural and fitness coordinator.
Clark believes activities that take up a maximum space of 70 feet by 45 feet could be accommodated in such a room. It could also host aerobics classes like yoga and zumba, which Clark says are becoming too large for the aerobics room. The current aerobics room may then be converted into a cardio room with additional exercise equipment for the growing campus population.
The outdoor basketball and volleyball courts will also be affected during the renovations. These courts will be used to store cranes, tractors and other construction equipment. One idea is to relocate the courts to the parking lot east of the CAC, referred to on campus maps as “P12.”
Scott said constructing the new courts could cost upwards of $100,000. But he insists on having them available to students, especially since sand volleyball is the fastest-growing intramural sport on campus. In addition, the existing outdoor courts would only be temporarily unavailable and would reopen in the same area when the construction is complete.
There has also been discussion about improving the current recreation field used for flag football, soccer and other intramural sports. According to Scott, adding lights, a scoreboard and bleachers to the field is a “major priority” as participation in intramurals continues to increase. More lighting would allow students to play sports at night. Original estimates were $58,000 for lighting, $7,000 for a scoreboard and $4,000 for bleachers. But a second estimate was nearly $400,000 just for lights.
“We want to get lights put up within our budget,” Scott said. The maximum he thinks SG could afford is about $100,000, and projection lighting that points downward to avoid light pollution is preferred. If the lights turn out to be too expensive, SG would still move forward with the scoreboard and bleachers, according to Scott.
Don McCarty, assistant director of student life, emphasizes that many of the proposed renovations are still up in the air, and plans change on a day-to-day basis.
“What I know today is probably not going to be true tomorrow,” McCarty said. “I really don’t know what is going to happen.”