College Town’s renovations over the past few years have brought new life to the once desolate area and made it more accessible to both Florida State’s campus and its students. Long story short: there are now more exciting things to do that are also virtually on campus.
The good news is that there are even more beneficial renovations to come and there are plenty of them. For starters, it’s fair to state that the national championship winning football team gets thrown a bone and for them, the changes are already in motion. “What we wanted to do was take the momentum of this year at the national championship and incorporate some of these ideas; we had to redo the stuff that the players and the staff use everyday,” Mark Robinson, Director of Football Operations, told Seminoles.com. One of the many upgrades includes the new locker room, equipped with iPads on each locker that the staff can personalize for players with individual game footage, messages, etc. A new College Gameday set bears a new logo and signifies a new era in which Jimbo Fisher plans on “being on top for a while.”
These upgrades are only the beginning of the Seminole Booster’s “Champion’s Campaign,” which is also intended to improve Doak Campbell Stadium. While they already completed the indoor football facilities at the beginning of this fall, an integral component of the project involves the “Champions Club premium seat section.”
Jerry Kutz, Sr. Vice President of Seminole Boosters, Inc., explains that their architects “plan to turn an undervalued piece of the stadium into beachfront property.”
“We’re looking to build the Champions Club in the south end zone of Doak because there are natural synergies to be realized with the existing University Center Club amenities, the large rooftop decks, and massive spaces under those decks which lend themselves to a 30,000 square-foot air-conditioned club with views of the field and of campus,” Kutz said.
There are a few different options but if all goes well, the University Club Center’s 3rd floor ballroom would be expanded so that its ending point would be a glass wall behind the Marching Chiefs that overlooks the field. This would provide air-conditioned relief for Champions Club seating guests whose seats would surround the extended ballroom throughout the remainder of the south end zone.
Additionally, Kutz explains that the top floor terrace would become “a permanent roof structure with an outdoor living feel. It would have kind of shaded awning that would protect you from the sun and rain.” Complete with flat screen televisions, a new bar, and restrooms, this area would allow for an even more enhanced gameday experience for Champions Club members.
At face value, it’s easy to jump to the basic conclusions. Yes, these potential renovations primarily benefit those willing to pay more for tickets and would decrease the stadium’s overall seating to a little over 80,000. However, keep in mind that these seats would almost indefinitely be purchased seats at a much higher value, especially with the way the football program has looked these past couple years. These improvements will eventually provide the necessary funds that will ultimately benefit the entire stadium.
Much like Doak Campbell Stadium, The Donald L. Tucker Civic Center is in need of renovations as well. According to Kyle Clark, Vice President of Finance and Administration for FSU, the Civic Center catered to over 400,000 people in 2014 for more than 500 separate events. In addition to being the home arena for the college’s basketball teams, the venue hosts a multitude of concerts and formal events as well. For the basketball team, a new “center hung” scoreboard on the jumbotron and ribbon boards will be included in the improvements.
Additionally, the $16 million that are being put into the project will also encompass new seating – garnet colored and complete with individual cup holders. More improvements to the sound and aesthetics of the arena should be complete by early 2015. The main project is already in progress and will be concluded by early October, before the start of FSU’s basketball seasons.
In regards to arena’s external environment, The Moore Communications Group (MCG) met various times throughout summer 2013 in an effort to improve the area surrounding the Civic Center, much like College Town and Gaines Street District Area. Attempting to create a new “Arena District,” the members of these visioning workshops believe that the space “can act as the connective tissue between FSU and the greater community.” Intending to engage campus life and the university itself with more “external audiences,” a new College of Business would sit adjacent to the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center with designated space for retail and entrepreneurial opportunity as well.
The committee is also looking to construct an on-site hotel with an integrated Dedman School of Hospitality. Providing “stronger internships, employment and training for students entering the industry,” this option would act as an incredible opportunity for hospitality students and an incentive for future FSU students in the program as well (see image 4).
While the Tallahassee and FSU communities continue to thrive on the excitement of a college town, it’s also an ongoing struggle to wait for the exciting possibilities, innovations, and opportunities of the future. The true hope though, is that this future, no matter how grand it may seem, is one with more parking garages.
by RYAN ALEVY / contributing writer