JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The University of North Florida announced significant facility enhancements for athletics with the help of Jacksonville-based CSI Companies on Tuesday at the UNF Arena.
The partnership is a seven-year, $2.1 million agreement that includes facility improvements that the school says will have an impact on all student-athletes across North Florida’s athletics department and spectators.
“The CSI Companies agreement is the largest in UNF Athletics history and it will help fund facility enhancements and provide professional development opportunities for our student-athletes,” Nick Morrow, Director of Athletics at UNF, said.
Renovations, beginning this summer, will include the construction of the Bank of England Hospitality Suite, the replacement of the original UNF Arena floor, a new weight room, new office space, updated seating, a new sound system, and enhanced lighting.
“We are going to undergo $3.4 million worth of renovations,” Morrow said.
The new arena floor will be known as CSI Companies Court and it will feature the CSI Companies’ logo, along with UNF’s navy on the baselines and sidelines, according to UNF. A North Florida banner logo and a cutout of the state of Florida with a star symbolizing Jacksonville’s location will be highlighted in the middle.
The current arena floor is the original UNF floor from 1993. The renovation process is scheduled to begin on Wednesday morning.
The impact on the most high-profile sport on campus, the men’s basketball program, could be felt immediately, according to head coach Matthew Driscoll.
“I’m a big believer (that) when you’ve got a hammer, when you’ve got a shovel in the ground when you’ve got things moving,” Driscoll said. “That looks like progress. I think that really shows signs to everybody not just recruits to other people that like man, I want to get involved man what’s going on here? Because again, when you’re from (19)72, you’re still pretty new. So you’ve got to have that ability to say we are moving forward and I think when you put a shovel in the ground, that’s the greatest thing in the world.”
The renovations are planned to benefit the entire campus, according to Morrow, who took over as athletic director last May.
“We’re a marketing tool, probably the greatest marketing tool this university has,” Morrow said. “So what are we doing on our end to help bring exposure to campus? What are we doing to help recruit the next student? What are we doing to bring alumni back? What are we doing to bring exposure and engaging with the community? I feel like that’s our responsibility as a department within this university is to help bring that exposure. And so projects like this branding like that will only help us achieve that goal.”
Ultimately, if the renovations bring more tickets sales, sponsors and recruits, the basketball and volleyball programs will benefit the most.
“When you get on campus and you see the 1700 acres and then you see exactly what we’re doing, I think you can feel it,” Driscoll said. “I’ve always said that, and obviously we’ve proven it with three championships, this place has always been a diamond in the rough but it’s not anymore. That thing is shining and bright and this court is going to put some more glare to it.”
Watch the full press conference here.