Posted by Joey Mullins on 2008-07-19

Samford University officials expect construction to begin in the next few days on a new football field house. The university's board of trustees had approved the project several months ago, with the understanding that private contributions would fund construction.

The new 39,000-square-foot facility will be located in the south end of F. Page Seibert Stadium on the Samford campus. Construction will begin as soon as some preparatory work is completed in the area where the building will be located, according to Samford Athletics Director Bob Roller. Construction is expected to take about 11 months and should be completed in time for the 2009 season.

To accommodate the new building, the university is moving the stadium's video scoreboard to the north end zone.

The $7.5 million building is being completely funded with private financial support, according to W. Randall Pittman, Samford's vice president for university relations. Most of the funding already has been pledged, and Pittman noted that many of the donors to the facility are supporting Samford for the first time in any way. A fundraising campaign for the building is being led by head football coach Pat Sullivan, with assistance from Pittman, Roller and Larry Long, Samford Athletics Foundation executive director.

"The support for this facility demonstrates a growing interest and support of Samford athletics across the region," Pittman said. "And, the addition of Pat Sullivan as our head football coach has helped to attract many new friends and donors to the university for the first time."

The new field house will include locker rooms, training rooms, weight rooms, equipment storage, offices and meeting rooms for Samford's football program. A second-level terrace will be used to host special events, especially on football game days. The building replaces facilities in Seibert Gym that date to that building's construction in the late 1950s.

A third level on the building will be finished at a later date. That level will be used to house academic and administrative offices during transition periods of other new construction or building renovations on campus.

"This new building provides our football program with state-of-the-art facilities at an important time for Samford athletics," Roller said. "With the university's move to the Southern Conference, it is critical for us to compete at all levels – on the field, in the classroom and facilities – with our new conference counterparts."

Visiting teams will continue to use locker rooms and other facilities in Seibert Hall adjacent to the stadium, Roller said.

Gary C. Wyatt General Contractor LLC is the Birmingham-based contractor for the building, which was designed by Davis Architects of Birmingham.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.