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UCF Athletics Drops New Facility Renderings in Tourism Tax Pitch

Upgraded Roth Tower and Softball Complex, and new Olympic sport facilities in UCF’s plans

UCF leaders presented their pitch Friday morning for $176.6 million of funding for its athletic facilities, both for new ones and upgrades to existing ones.

According to the university’s funding interest application to the Tourist Development Tax Citizen Advisory Task Force it submitted last month, UCF requested $176.6 million over ten years. It would cover about two-thirds of the full $267.8 million cost of the projects.

UCF Knights Athletics is one of many entities vying for a piece of the revenue generated from Orange County’s Tourism Development Tax, which brought in a record $336 million in fiscal year 2022, according to the Orange County website.

TDT money is used for tourism-related expenditures, such as operating the Orange County Convention Center, tourism promotion, and venue-related payments.

While UCF’s application for the funding said $26.85 million has already been raised for its Athletics Village projects, athletic director Terry Mohajir said TDT funding would “accelerate and amplify” the existing master plan. Should the funds be approved, Mohajir said construction could begin within six months.

“We don’t want to just enter the Power Five, we want to enter the in the Power Five and be big time, and to do that quickly,” University President Dr. Alexander Cartwright said. “There’s a real opportunity here for us with the right investment infusion, we can then start leveraging and building that tourism industry here.”

Among the renderings presented to the Task Force in a video included a look at a redesigned Roth Tower, which Mohajir unveiled as part of his Mission XII update back in March.

One of the objectives of Mission XII is “to deliver unique, indigenous athletics facilities for all student-athletes and fans, starting with the UCF Football Campus.”

UCF expanded on this objective Friday as the video unveiled conceptual renderings for several non-Football athletic facilities. Such facilities include:

A Soccer-Specific Stadium

First hinted at in Mohajir’s unveiling of the Football Campus to the UCF Board of Trustees in August 2021, the video is the first time the university has presented renderings that specifically spotlight a soccer-specific stadium.

The video also said funds would go towards updating the soccer practice fields.

Renovations to UCF Softball Complex

According to the video, The Plex would get “major renovations.” Based on the renderings, these renovations include:

  • Additional bleacher seating
  • A more formal outfield seating area, including tables
  • An awning behind home plate
  • An additional floor of the central “tower”

Olympic Park for Tennis and Track & Field

Alongside The Plex’s upgrades, new renderings were released for two other facilities that would join it to form what the video called “Olympic Park.”

Based on the renderings, the new facilities would be located to the southeast of The Plex, which means they would be built on a portion of the UCF Arboretum.

One of these facilities would be Orange County’s first Track and Field-specific stadium, which would become the UCF Track and Field team’s new home.

The other would be what the video calls a “Tennis Training Center,” which according to the renderings would include eight tennis courts.

Other Upgrades

The video also described other projects the TDT money would go towards, though it did not have renderings of them:

  • “Renovations and updates” for Addition Financial Arena and The Venue
  • Baseball training facility updates
  • An “International Broadcast Center”

According to UCF’s application, the university has not received any form of TDT funding in the last ten years. Though, there is a precedent of such funding being awarded to a university for an athletic facility. Back in 2021, the Duval County Tourist Development Council committed $950,000 to the University of North Florida to resurface the track at Hodges Stadium. The facility has since hosted the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field East Preliminary for the seventh time last month.

“We are confident that we can deliver a return on investment for those precious dollars if you invest,” Cartwright said to the Task Force. “I don’t think we would have been able to do that 20 years ago, but we know now we’re in a different position. We can elevate and take it to the next level, what we do in athletics, which then can give the return on investment from you.”

The Task Force will meet two more times, on June 26 at 2 p.m. and July 17 at 9 a.m., before presenting their findings to the Tourism Development Council on July 18.

Watch UCF’s full presentation below: