Saint Leo University is celebrating the grand opening and dedication of a new turf stadium and parking garage on its main Pasco County campus.
Ten feet above ground, the new $13 million artificial field sits atop a new 740-space parking garage on the east side of campus near the gym.
One of several improvements Saint Leo
has made to its athletic facilities, the surface is able to support 6,000 people and have two fields for intramural sports running perpendicular to the game field for extracurricular activities like football, lacrosse, soccer, ultimate frisbee and kickball.
With Lunz Prebor Fowler
of Lakeland as archiect on the project and Clearwater's Creative Contractors, Inc.
as contractor, the highly unusual artificial turf structure meets NCAA regulations
for men's and women's lacrosse and soccer.
According to Brad Jorgensen, the only men's lacrosse coach in the program's eight-year history, the biggest asset the new field brings is not having to worry about overuse or weather damage.
“We beat up grass. Just the nature of our sport isn't kind to grass. Even the best lacrosse facilities
show wear and tear by the end of the season,” Jorgensen says. “I think, long term, not having to deal with resodding and filling in holes is really going to help us out.”
The women's lacrosse team got to experience the new artificial turf game and practice field for the first time during a conditioning session on September 24th; the official grand opening and dedication took place on October 19th.
“[The team] was so excited to get out here. They're really proud of the facility,” says women's lacrosse coach Lesley Graham. “They want to do it justice, play hard, show everybody we're a force to be reckoned with and deserve this first-class facility.”
The Pasco County-based university recently acquired more than 30 acres of land
from the Benedictine Sisters of Florida to include in an updated master plan for expansion.
Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Brad Jorgensen, Saint Leo University