UCF’s 2020-30 Campus Master Plan has finished its public review window, and in the available document, there are some interesting projects brewing for UCF Knights programs over the next ten years.
Scouring through the pages, UCF lays out four major athletics-related projects (page 254). Two of them are no surprise, but the other two are, and have not been part of any official plan or public announcement from UCF Athletics.
Note: No costs are laid out in the Master Plan. That will be worked out once the Master Plan itself receives final approval from the Board of Trustees.
Basketball Excellence Center
A renovated basketball facility has been in the works for some time, and is actually part of UCF’s facilities vision for the Kenneth G. Dixon Athletics Village.
The new facility would be located in the space between the Venue (the old UCF Arena) and Addition Financial Arena, which is the current location of both basketball offices and the volleyball offices on the second floor, plus locker rooms for men’s soccer and volleyball on the first floor. Check 1:15 of the video below:
Aside from that, there are precious few details about what would be included in this new building. But the Master Plan describes the Scope of Work as:
Renovation of The Venue. Add new student-athlete team space for dressing, training, development, rehab, nutrition, recovery, and recruiting. New office space.
It is expected that the Basketball Excellence Center will begin to take shape in the next few years. Fundraising is currently underway.
Spectrum Stadium Rust Remediation
While Spectrum Stadium is still the crown jewel of the program, it’s already more than a decade old, and will need some updating to strengthen it before any expansion takes place. In fact, there are no mentions of any Spectrum Stadium expansion plans in the Master Plan at all.
New Soccer Stadium
Here’s where stuff gets interesting: The Master Plan includes a mention of a new stadium for UCF Soccer Stadium, with parking, north of Spectrum Stadium (#26):
Currently, both UCF Soccer teams play at the UCF Track and Soccer Complex, next to the arena. It has been their home since 1991, and was renovated in 2011 to add the grandstand and press box we see today, seating at least 2000, excluding standing-room and temporary seating.
But it’s still a dual-use facility, and the fans are removed from the action due to the track going around the pitch. In addition, the soccer locker rooms are located in The Venue, and teams have to cross East Plaza Drive to get to the stadium before games and during halftime. Visiting teams have no facilities. In addition, some at UCF have lamented lost revenue from fans watching the game from the parking garage located just south of the field for free, rather then paying for a ticket to get in.
The new Roth Athletics Center, which is nearing completion, is supposed to mitigate those problems with new locker rooms for soccer, but the playing facility itself will remain piecemeal.
Currently, only three of the ten teams in The American that sponsor soccer have dedicated soccer facilities (South Florida, UConn and ECU). All the other share their pitches with track.
UCF’s Master Plan places the stadium and its parking facilities on the space north of Spectrum Stadium, which currently houses the soccer teams’ practice fields, and a dirt parking lot for football and other events.
A new soccer stadium would give UCF’s soccer programs a competitive advantage in recruiting as the Knights look to remain national competitors in both the women’s and men’s game.
New Tennis Facility
This was a bit of a surprise, but Item #27 on the spreadsheet is a new 7,500 square-foot tennis complex complete with a “tennis support building and tennis courts,” to be located next to the Softball Complex:
UCF Tennis moved its home digs from the dingy rec courts next to the Recreation and Wellness Center to the new USTA National Campus in Lake Nona upon its completion in 2017. It has already seen some dramatic moments as the Knights’ tennis programs have undergone a renaissance under the direction of John Roddick.
But the inclusion of an on-campus tennis facility, which has been tossed around for years before the move to Lake Nona, looks to be a concession that the Knights’ current arrangement with the USTA is only a temporary one. There is also plenty of room over by the Softball Complex for development
The USTA National Campus is a 26-minute, 21.4-mile drive (with no traffic) from UCF along two toll roads, so this is an inconvenience for coaches, players and any fans who want to watch the team. An on-campus facility can mitigate that.
Again, the 2020-2030 Campus Master Plan isn’t totally finalized yet, and UCF has not yet announced any plans for a new soccer or tennis facility on campus. But this document at least gives us some insight into what may be on Danny White’s mind for the next round of UCF facilities, once his grand vision of the athletics village comes to fruition.