Field house groundbreaking advances
First and Ten Campaign for Football
By Dan Kelly
UNCP held a groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 6 for the field house being built at the Irwin Belk Athletic Complex.
The field house will be an athletic facility that serves many functions for the football program as well as the athletic department.
“We’ve made a lot of things about football, but it’s also a great addition to the athletic department,” Athletic Director Dan Kenney said.
Photo By Dan Kelly
Donor Wesley Campbell, left, Head Football Coach Pete Shinnick, Lumbee Guaranty Bank President Larry Chavis, President of Metcon, Inc. and general contractor for the project Aaron Thomas, Chancellor Allen C. Meadors, UNCP Trustee Milton Hunt, Football committee member Bob Caton and UNCP Trustee Dick Taylor make the field house official.
When it is completed around March 2007, it is planned to have:
• Locker rooms and dressing rooms for UNCP football and visitors.
• A meeting room that will hold up to 100 people.
• A strength and conditioning room for use by UNCP athletics.
• Athletic training room.
• Football staff offices.
• Staff conference room.
• Laundry and equipment room.
The cost of construction is $4.5 million, which was privately funded through the First and Ten Campaign for Football and Athletic Excellence.
The cost actually hasn’t been entirely covered, yet, from the fundraising although construction has already started, a point UNCP Chancellor Allen C. Meadors made openly during the ceremony.
“We haven’t paid for this building, yet. We are still raising funds for this building,” Meadors said.
Many points in the ceremony focused on the anticipation that has been building over the past two years, when the initial feasibility study for football began.
For Chancellor Meadors, the anticipation began upon his arrival in 1999 about two days before Lumbee Homecoming. “The one thing I remember being asked five times that day is ‘When are you going to have a football team?’” Meadors said.
Similar energy was reflected when Head Coach Pete Shinnick spoke about the progress of the football program and how the new recruits were preparing for their first game.
“They’ve been very patient. They’ve done a great job. We’re not playing a game, but every day...we were up this morning at 6 o’clock working out over on that field,” Shinnick said.
The end of the ceremony was the actual groundbreaking where the Chancellor, administrators, the football coaching staff and fundraisers took turns digging into site of the field house.
A parallel issue to the construction of the field house is the continued construction of the north field where the soccer games will be relocated.
The center section of the current Belk Complex bleachers will be moved to the north field.
The two outer sections of the bleachers will be moved to the west side of the Lumbee Guaranty Bank field, which will be the revamped soccer field of the Belk Complex.
The north field is located near the Physical Plant on the extreme north end of campus and still needs a scoreboard and bathrooms installed.