JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Jacksonville University will break ground this fall on an expansion to the football stadium that will include a 5,500 permanent-seat structure and press box on the west side of Milne Field. The facility will also provide a freshly landscaped east side highlighted by berm seating and standing areas for upwards of 2,500.

"The success of our football program attracted interest from several private donors," said Jacksonville University Director of Athletics Brad Edwards. "Through their generous support and vision, which we are supremely grateful for, we raised the entire $4.5 million needed for Phase I of the project. The new stadium structure will be an ultra-modern, state-of-the-art competition facility that will provide a tremendous boost to our athletic programs. Moreover, it will enhance in a major way our student-life and spectator experience. Jacksonville University takes great pride in its campus and competition facilities, and it is our belief that this expansion will continue to support the philosophy of providing a first-class experience for our students, alumni, faculty and friends."

Completion for the project is expected for the fall of 2014.

"We have had a vision of a first-class facility that would take our program to the next level for the past few years," said Head Football Coach Kerwin Bell. "To see that vision become a reality is wonderful. We are very thankful for the overwhelming generosity made by the loyal supporters in this community who are committed to sustaining a big-time football program here at Jacksonville University."

"Having a first-class venue like this on campus will allow us to reach the next level in the talent of student-athletes we recruit," said Head Men's Lacrosse Coach Guy Van Arsdale. "We are extremely appreciative of the support given by our donors for this project and thankful to have a top-rate facility that will showcase their commitment to our athletic programs."

"A top-notch facility such as this really helps us on a national level for recruiting and enables our coaches to attract top student-athletes from all across the country," said Head Women's Lacrosse Coach Mindy McCord. We are so thankful for the vision set forth by our administration and trustees, as well as the support from our donors who have helped make this facility come to life."

Phase II is intended to include an additional 5,000 seats or an amount pending changes in future demand. It will also consist of an administrative building with offices, team meeting rooms, locker rooms, strength and conditioning center, sports medicine center, and equipment room.

"We are thrilled to get this project started," Edwards added. "We have championship-caliber programs compete at this facility year-round. These enhancements will help support and elevate those programs as we strive for even greater success."