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Construction to begin on $18M sports complex at Episcopal

Current stadium hasn't been renovated in decades

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A brand new $18 million facility will change the game moving forward for football, soccer, lacrosse, swimming and all sports at Episcopal School of Jacksonville. 

"It's amazing to think that it's all coming to fruition within the next year. It's going to be fabulous," said Episcopal grad and parent Katherine Nott.

Nott said her two daughters are both involved in sports. Her entire family is ready to see the Eagles soar from the new complex.

"It is so needed," Nott said. "As much as our athletes have been supported by parents, coaches, everyone, just having the facility here to come around to gather, to celebrate, it will just continue that energy, enthusiasm that is already part of our culture here at Episcopal."

The current stadium hasn't been renovated in decades, but due to the fundraising efforts, the school is doing a major $18 million overhaul.

"New locker rooms, new coaches' offices, press box, bathrooms, a new tunnel for the kids to run out of on game day -- we are really excited," said Andy Kidd, director of athletics at Episcopal. "It’s the upgrade that's needed. We've updated our fine arts facilities and academic facilities, and now it's time to upgrade our athletic facilities."

Down the street, the school is developing its Knight campus, which is 28 acres that will have a boat house and 12 new tennis courts, among other amenities.

The school said this is the biggest campaign yet. Episcopal raised $15 million for a new fine arts center in 2003, but this complex is going to top that.

IMAGES: Episcopal sports complex renderings

"We started our efforts two years ago with the board of trustees giving a third of our total campaign," said Missy Ketchum, director of institutional advancement. "We've raised $14.2 million. We have $3.8 million to go."

Ketchum said because Episcopal is private, the school doesn't get funding from the government for these facilities. The future of the upgrades falls on donors, but the athletic director said everyone is doing their part to pay it forward.

"It's a real testament to our alumni, our parents, grandparents, our board of trustees, our faculty and staff are 100 percent in, our board of trustees are 100 percent in," Kidd said. "We have had some great donors over the years that have helped Episcopal."

After the groundbreaking in November, there will be some logistical changes during construction. School leaders will have to work around that until it opens for the 2017 school year.