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UCF Arena | Under Construction Forever

UCF Athletics Facilities: Ready For The Next Level (Part 1 of 2)

Posted: February 4th, 2011 | Filed under: Athletics, Knights Plaza, Track and Soccer Stadium, UCF Arena | No Comments »

Bright House Networks Stadium with statue

As you know, this is not a UCF sports blog, and I don’t intend to make it one.  However, conference expansion is ongoing and UCF has a chance to make the jump from Conference USA to an Automatic Qualifying (AQ) BCS football conference in the BIG EAST.  The BIG EAST is currently the only AQ conference openly pursuing expansion to at least 10 teams (the 8-team conference recently added TCU for 2012).  Among the remaining expansion candidates, UCF’s name is always in the discussion as a potential (some say likely) target for the BIG EAST Conference.

Many people around the country are beginning to take notice of what is going on at UCF, given the recent success of the football and basketball programs. The football team finished ranked in the top 20 after winning C-USA and beating Georgia in the Liberty Bowl.  The basketball team got off to a hot start, also earning its first top-25 ranking after starting the season 14-0. And most recently, top football recruits from around the country are choosing UCF over traditional BCS AQ teams, citing the unlimited potential to excel here at UCF.

But expansion candidates are evaluated on a number of factors beyond program success.  Academics, fan support, TV market, and facilities are also considered.  Since this is a blog about construction and development at and around UCF, you can probably guess what the focus of this post is going to be.  In this two-part series, we’ll look at the facilities UCF has built in the past 10 years, what’s currently under construction, and what is still in the pipeline for the future.

UCF Bright House Networks Stadium aerial

Brighthouse Networks Stadium

Year Completed: 2007. Capacity: 45,301. After years of playing football 15 miles from campus at the aging Citrus Bowl, UCF built its own stadium on campus.  Seating expansion to 56,000 and additional luxury suites are expected within 10 years.

UCF Nicholson Fieldhouse

Indoor practice facility (Nicholson Fieldhouse)

Year Completed: 2005. The first of its kind in Florida. Regulation 120-yard field with FieldTurf surface in a climate-controlled building.  Other schools are playing catch-up: FSU is building an indoor facility but it won’t be open until June 2012.

UCF Wayne Densch Sports Center

Wayne Densch Sports Center

Completed: 2003. This building houses the football offices, as well as the strength & conditioning facilities for all sports. There are already plans to expand this building, which I will cover in the next post.

UCF Arena

UCF Arena

Year Completed: 2007. Capacity: 10,000.  UCF opened its new basketball arena in the middle of Knights Plaza, a mixed-use retail area with restaurants, residence halls, and more. Concerts, commencements, and other large events are also held here. Check out my previous post for more photos: Photo Tour: Knights Plaza & UCF Arena.

UCF Jay Bergman Field

Jay Bergman Field

Year Completed: 2001. Capacity: 2,230.  New video board was added in 2008, and the viewing deck behind right field was added in 2010.  Multi-phase expansion plans are also in the works for “The Berg”, with construction starting very soon. More details in the next post.

UCF Softball Complex

UCF Softball Complex

Year Completed: 2006. Capacity: 600.  The UCF Softball Complex sits right across the street from Brighthouse Stadium.  It houses offices, batting cages, training room, lounges, and conference rooms.

UCF Track Soccer Complex

Track and Soccer Complex

Year Completed: 1991. Capacity: 600. Even though it was only built 20 years ago, it is one of UCF’s oldest facilities.  Track surface was replaced in 2004, and several small improvements were made in 2008.  Construction just started on the multi-phase expansion project, which will bring seating capacity to over 2,000.

…And More

Rowing, Tennis and Golf also have beautiful facilities. Check out the official website for more information on these facilities.

What’s Next?

It’s clear that UCF has made the commitment to bring its athletics facilities to the next level.  It could be argued that what we have here in Orlando is already on par with many top-level athletics programs around the country. But there’s still a lot of work to do.

My next post will highlight what’s currently under construction and what is in the planning stages.  Hitt, Tribble, and the rest of the administration are determined to make UCF a household name when it comes to top-level athletics, and it looks like they are on the right track so far.

Scenery: Light Up UCF

Posted: December 21st, 2010 | Filed under: Knights Plaza, Scenery, UCF Arena | No Comments »

UCF student Kelly Vandegeer sent in these awesome photos of the UCF Arena and the Light Up UCF event.  For those that so not know, Light Up UCF is an outdoor ice skating / light show / film festival that happens on Knights Plaza every holiday season. Take your family and check it out!  It runs through January 2nd.

You can see more of Kelly Vandegeer’s photos on her Flickr site, and she is working on her new website, kvphotographs.com, which should be online soon.

Football banners up on the UCF Arena

Posted: August 18th, 2010 | Filed under: UCF Arena | No Comments »

UKNIGHT banners 1

UCF Football “UKNIGHT” banners are now hanging from the front of the UCF Arena.  These are similar to last year’s banners; each one is about 25 feet tall! Who’s ready for football season?!

UKNIGHT banners 2

Photo Tour: Knights Plaza & UCF Arena

Posted: July 15th, 2010 | Filed under: Knights Plaza, UCF Arena | No Comments »

A few days ago, I snapped a few photos of the UCF Arena and the surrounding area (Knights Plaza).  Most of you have probably already seen this part of campus since it was completed in 2007, though there have been some recent changes. A hair & nail salon has recently opened in the space between Subway and Red Brick Pizza. Original tenant Volcano’s (coffee shop) has been closed for about a year, and Beach Scene (surf & clothing store) closed this Spring.

There is a sign on the old Beach Scene space for Bronze Beauties tanning salon opening “mid July”, however the interior buildout doesn’t appear to be underway.

Signs on several of the vacant retail spaces indicate leasing for Knights Plaza is now handled by Tizon Commercial.  Alan Gooch (former UCF Football player and coach) is listed as a managing partner of Tizon.

At one point, I believe there were plans for additional retail space in this area.  It is unclear if (or when) the additional retail phases will be built.

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