"This is one of the great days in FAU's history." - Florida Atlantic President John Kelly
On Tuesday, the Florida Atlantic Board of Trustees approved the largest single gift in university history. The $16 million donation from the Schmidt Foundation was approved to fund the Schmidt Family Complex for Academic and Athletic Excellence.
The Schmidt Foundation has already made a donation of $1 million and will continue to make $5 million donations each year over the next three years. The entire project will cost between $45 and $50 million to complete. With this gift, FAU will begin construction immediately and while there is no current timeline for completion, the location will be west of FAU Stadium. The Complex will be 185,000 sq. ft. and include the following:
- Academic Center
- Strength & Conditioning and Wellness Center
- Sports Medicine Center
- Football Center
- Indoor Practice Facility (!!!)
- History and Tradition Hall
After ten years of FBS football, FAU can finally say that they're ready to start taking their commitment to football seriously.
There are two other FBS programs in Florida with similar facilities. UCF blazed the trail with the completion of their indoor Nicholson Fieldhouse in 2005 and it cost roughly $4.3 million to build. Florida State also has an indoor facility with their beautifully renovated Dunlap Training Facility that cost around $15 million, while the University of Florida has proposed to spend just south of $12 million on an indoor field of their own. The University of Miami and FIU do not have indoor football facilities.
It goes without saying that is incredible news for Florida Atlantic. Each project mentioned above was spearheaded by either the program's head coach, athletic director or both. AD Pat Chun, HC Charlie Partridge and even University President John Kelly have all publicly addressed the need for improved athletic facilities and it is refreshing to see their requests fulfilled in such a short amount of time.
President Kelly specifically mentioned during the announcement that FAU "intends to become a great national university both academically and athletically", while also later saying that "our goal is to give our student-athletes a chance to excel academically and then on into their careers". The Complex should provide these resources to every FAU student-athlete and not just the football program. Partridge and the Owls may have had a less-than-stellar year on the football field, but I believe every Owl fan can agree that today was a tremendous moment for the program and university.