The shovels dug in on a new era for Syracuse Athletics on Sunday, as Syracuse University officially broke ground on a $13 million practice facility.
The state-of-the-art building will serve as a training center for SU football and some other sports as well. Floyd Little, Scott Shafer and some current SU football players represented the football program, while University officials like Dr. Daryl Gross and Nancy Cantor also were in attendance.
The practice center was the result of a major gift by Syracuse Board of Trustees Chairman Richard L. Thompson and his wife Jean. Several of those key University members said this facility was a "necessity."
"It's been a necessity for a long time," Shafer said. "I think there's a misconception that 'We have the [Carrier] Dome, why would we need an indoor [facility]?' But once our basketball team gets out there we really only have 50 or 60 yards of space and you can't get work done there."
Even the current athletes, seniors who will be graduated by the time the facility is finished in about eight to nine months, are encouraged.
"You have a nice indoor facility like this, you can practice in the elements that you so choose, and I think that's important for a football team," senior captain and center Macky MacPherson said.
"I think it will really help the program out with recruits and just the players in general being able to practice here, hopefully just building as better team with camaraderie for future players," senior captain and defensive tackle Jay Bromley said.
Click here to see renderings of the proposed facility, which will be built on top of the track near Manley Field House.