Athletics breaks ground on new athletic and academic center

The Schmidt Family Complex for Academic and Athletic Excellence is set to open in July 2018.


From left, Pat McKay; Anthony Barbar, chair of FAU’s Board of Trustees; Abdol Moabery, an FAU Board of Trustees member; Christine E. Lynn; Dick Schmidt; FAU President John Kelly; Barbara Schmidt; Barbara Campbell; Bobby Campbell; Eleanor R. Baldwin; Lane Kiffin, FAU football head coach. Photo courtesy of FAU Media Relations

Hans Belot Jr., Sports Editor

Correction: The initial edition of this story listed the total square feet of the facility as 12,000. The story has been fixed to include the correct total.

Florida Atlantic University broke ground on the Schmidt Family Complex for Academic and Athletic Excellence on Friday. The new center is set to open in July 2018 if “everything goes according to plan,” according to FAU Athletic Director Patrick Chun.

The 96,000-square-foot facility will be named after the Schmidt Family Foundation, who contributed $16 million to start the project — the largest single donation in FAU’s history. The center will include nine tutor suites, a career center, computer laboratories and two study hall rooms.

It will also include a weight room, a training room, offices for football coaches, two outdoor football practice fields, one indoor practice field and a sports memorabilia museum.

The new center will be constructed west of FAU’s stadium, and will use part of the infrastructure of Parking Garage Three. Chun said no parking on campus will be affected by the building, and believes the students will embrace the new center rather than be worried about parking being taken away.

“We’re going to take a portion of the first floor [of the parking garage],” Chun said. “The goal is to make it blend into campus. The way the footprint is, makes sense to take advantage of that. It’s also cost saving because the infrastructure is already there.”

Chun also said none of the nearby nature preserve will be used as part of the project, and fully expects that area to stay intact.

Some of the people in attendance for the event included former FAU football players Brandin Bryant, Trevon Coley and Lucky Whitehead. Richard Schmidt and his wife Barbara were also in attendance, as well as new football head coach Lane Kiffin.

Funding for the athletic center has not yet been fully raised, but donations and fundraising are still ongoing to finish the project on time.

According to a program development posted on FAU’s facilities website in October 2016, it was projected that $33.5 million of the $40 million needed to finish the site would come from FAU Foundation donations, while the rest will come from university funds.

Hans Belot Jr. is the sports editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him at @Don_Phenom_.