The new two-story facility will feature a student-athlete academic center, a sports medicine facility, a new football locker room and football lounge, as well as a “gallery of champions” at the entrance.
The new complex will encompass 30,000 square feet of new space, as well as a renovation of the current Hecht Athletic Center, renaming it the Theodore G. Schwartz and Todd G. Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence.
“It’s going to take this program to the next level,” UM athletic director Kirby Hocutt said of the $5 million donation. “This isn’t the end. It’s the start of further enhancements to our athletic facility. Once we get this project finalized there are other needs that we have that we’ll turn our focus to.
“We’re so excited and appreciative of the Schwartz family stepping forward.”
According to the Miami Herald:
Ted Schwartz, 57, a longtime Hurricanes fan, lives in Chicago and has a residence in Aventura. He’s founder and chairman of the board of directors of APAC Customer Services, Inc., based in Bannockburn, Ill. His son Todd, 29, graduated from Tulane and is president of TCS Realty in Chicago.
Hocutt said the project has raised $10.5 million of its $13.68 million goal. He said construction should begin 12 to 15 months from now, and is expected to be completed in another 18 months from then.
The academic area on the second floor will include classrooms, tutor rooms, a computer lab, a math-and-science technology lab, academic advisor offices, a 120-seat auditorium, a learning resource room and study space to accommodate more than 400 student-athletes.
The first floor will have the new football team locker room, with a lounge for players to “congregate after and before practices, watch SportsCenter, play video games or just relax,” Hocutt said.
When the football team moves into its new space, the area in which it now has its locker room, plus the 3,300 square feet used now for athletic training/sports medicine, will become a 10,000-square-foot sports medicine facility on the ground floor. The sports medicine complex will feature in-ground hydrotherapy pools, examination rooms, digital imaging and extensive rehabilitation space for all athletes.
Hocutt said the “gallery of champions” will be a place to exhibit national championship trophies and other awards from the past. It will not take the place of the UM Sports Hall of Fame.
Besides Alex Rodriguez Park, the most significant enhancement made in the past few years to UM athletic facilities was the basketball field house with practice areas.
UM also made modest enhancements recently to Cobb Stadium for track and field prior to hosting the Atlantic Coast Conference championships last spring, as well as minor enhancements to the Schiff Family Tennis Center and some football support areas and coaching offices.
The $5M donation is the second largest financial gift to UM athletics. Last decade almost-Cane, long-time Miami resident and Westminster Christian baseball alum Alex Rodriguez donated $3.9M to help fund Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
On behalf of Canes fans everywhere, a hearty thank you to the Schwartz family for stepping up and taking Miami athletics to that next level.