Miami Athletics to build new $100 Million football operations center

Rendering of the completed facility that is expected to take up 172,000 square feet Photo credit: UM Athletics

Current and future students at the University of Miami will have no choice but to become acclimated to a construction heavy campus. In the past ten years, the university has undertaken several projects including the Donna E. Shalala Student Center, the Lennar Foundation Medical Center, Lakeside Village and the currently unfinished Centennial Village.

The University of Miami is now preparing to add yet another building to its campus skyline. On Jan. 4th, the UM athletic department announced its plans to build a brand new football operations center on campus next to the Herbert Wellness Center, and the news is already sparking controversy.

Dan Radakovich, vice president and director of athletics at UM, is ecstatic about the new building as he thinks the facility will help take the football team to the next level. He also believes that the facility is necessary because athletics has to compete with other state-of-the-art centers across the college football landscape.

“Competing in the rapidly changing landscape of college athletics requires creative thinking and bold investments,” Radakovich said. “This new football operations center speaks to the promise of Miami again building a championship football program.”

The complex will stand seven stories tall, encompass more than 172,000 square feet and is set to include top-of-the-line amenities in sports medicine and psychology, nutrition, strength and conditioning and personal branding. These include, but are not limited to, a dining hall, nutrition center, recovery spa, digital media lab and rooftop terrace.

Athletics hopes this new operations center will help elevate the Hurricanes football program and become instrumental in ensuring that the team can recruit and retain the very best football players in the country.

“If you look at the schools we are competing against, many of them have built football-only facilities that not only provide all the resources the student-athletes need but also give them a place to gather with their teammates and build those bonds that last a lifetime,” Radakovich said.

While the athletics department believes that the nine-figure facility will help lead the team to championship wins, some students are unsure whether investing a great deal in a complex will actually yield the desired results. Dan D’Amico, a junior motion pictures major, does not know if the building will produce positive results, especially after the team’s 5-7 season.

“There’s lots of schools around the country with state-of-the-art multi-million dollar football facilities that haven’t had much success on the field,” D’Amico said. “To think a building will magically turn the program around is far-fetched.”

Unlike some of the most recent developments on campus, the football operations center won’t grant full access to all students. UM students and visitors will be able to visit the first-floor lobby, but the rest of the building is reserved for football players and staff. The fact that not only other students, but other athletes cannot use the facilities is causing strife for why only a small fraction of the campus population will have access.

“I get that having lots of students wandering around your football facility is a liability for your team, but at the same time, it’s a little baffling that UM is building this expensive complex that will definitely shut down some areas of campus and not everyone will be able to enjoy it,” Adelaide Sapin, a former UM rower, said.

Hurricanes football’s new home will include a parking garage with 555 spaces and a canal bridge that will connect the building to the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility. Students can rest assured that access to both buildings will not be impacted.

“The parking areas adjacent to the Herbert Wellness Center will be affected but plans are being developed to limit the impact on pedestrian traffic around campus. There will be detours and routes to navigate the construction safely, and access to the Herbert Wellness Center will not be impacted,” Radakovich said.

Although there is no estimated completion date, the athletic department has told the Hurricane that all parties associated are meeting sometime this month with the goal of creating a timeline and campaign to help support the project.