JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University announced on Wednesday it is moving forward with the building of the Jacksonville Lacrosse Center (JLC). The university has reached the fundraising goal to break ground on the lacrosse facility, with construction set to begin this summer. Completion is scheduled for fall 2018.
The JLC has been a primary focus for Athletic Director Alex Ricker-Gilbert since his appointment to the position in May 2016.
“It is so rewarding to see all of the hard work coming to fruition,” said Ricker-Gilbert. “We identified this as a priority when I first took on this role and thanks to the overwhelming generosity from the JU family and the support of the university, we are ecstatic to announce we will be putting a shovel in the ground this summer.”
“The diligent work from our coaches, athletics administration, university advancement and our supporters has paid off,” added Ricker-Gilbert. “It has taken a group effort to get us to this point and I am so thankful to all of the people who have helped us along the way.”
The 8,600-square-foot building will serve as the new home for both the men’s and women’s lacrosse programs and will be located adjacent to the grandstand on the north end of D.B. Milne Field. The $1.875 million facility will include: Men’s and women’s locker rooms, a film room, a lounge, coaches’ offices, and athletic training center, a conference room, a game room and a nutritional center.
The arrival of John Galloway, the head coach for the men’s program, helped refocus the effort of getting the center built. One of the very first moves Ricker-Gilbert made as the AD was hiring Galloway, and they both realized the importance of providing these programs with a first-class building.
“The announcement of our facility groundbreaking may prove to be one of the most pivotal moments in our short history of Jacksonville lacrosse,” said Galloway. “The work done behind the scenes from our administration coupled with the financial support of so many friends and family of our programs has led us to this day.”
The men’s program is coming off its first-ever appearance in the Southern Conference Championship title game in just its second season under the guidance of Galloway.
“Starting this fall, our student-athletes and coaches will be given every advantage necessary to compete and recruit with any program in the nation. More importantly, this commitment is just another gesture from our university of how important lacrosse is to the fabric of this campus. This facility will stand as the symbol for our programs as we continue to establish ourselves as the Lacrosse Capital of the South.”
The women’s program took home yet another ASUN regular season and tournament championship this year, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in its brief nine-year history of the program.
“This facility has always been a vision from day one when the University announced the start of men’s and women’s lacrosse in 2008,” said Mindy McCord, the head coach of the women’s team. “(Associate head coach) Paul (McCord) and I have always been behind the bigger vision of growing lacrosse in the southeastern United States. We always believed this facility would be a catalyst to help support the growth of one of the fastest growing sports in the country.”
Over $1 million has been raised for the facility thus far and fundraising for the project will continue with several new donor naming opportunities.
“Our dream over the past several years has been to be the best place to play lacrosse,” said McCord, who himself committed a significant contribution to the project. “This facility means that we are closer to our goal. There is absolutely no reason why a top student-athlete who plays lacrosse would not want to circle Jacksonville University as one of their top choices. We look forward to attracting the very best talent, character, and work ethic to propel our program to elite status.”
Stellar, a firm providing award-winning construction management at-risk, design-build and general contracting services for a range of commercial and public sector markets, has been selected as the design-builder for the facility. Stellar has teamed with PQH Group for the design.
“We’re excited to be working on this unique facility for JU,” said Richard Lovelace, Stellar’s Senior Vice President of Commercial Services. “This is a high-traffic area of campus, so we’re fast-tracking the project timeline to have the building ready before lacrosse season.”
“Stellar has been an outstanding partner for the University and we are thrilled to be working with them on this facility,” Ricker-Gilbert said. “We have watched them do fantastic work right next door on the Williams Hall renovation project and know they will do an incredible job with this effort as well.”