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May 1, 2012

Timeline for Indoor Practice Facility in place

For more information or to donate to the indoor practice facility go to FSUIndoorPracticeFacility.com

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Florida State's long-awaited indoor practice facility finally has a timeline.

If all goes as planned, the dream that started with former FSU coach Bobby Bowden, and continued with current coach Jimbo Fisher, will come to fruition next year.

A report surfaced last summer that the IPF would break ground in January of 2012 and could be ready in time for this season. It turns out the financing will not even be place until this summer, and from there, the project can move forward.

"Our plan is to break ground in December," Seminole Boosters Chief Executive Officer Andy Miller told Warchant.com. "The hope is that we could have (the athletic dorm) as well as the indoor practice facility done in 2013 ... We are hoping that we can make it all work so we can be open with both facilities in 2013."

Miller added that the hope is that the IPF will be able to open in time for the 2013 football season, but no later than early 2014.

The final push to get the project rolling came from international businessman and former Sunbeam CEO Al Dunlap. He and his wife, Judith, pledged $5 million to the project earlier this year. That huge donation bumped the total pledges up to approximately $19 million.

With an estimated price tag of $15 million to build the IPF, the financial backing appears to be in place. However, Miller cautioned that the $19 million figure only represents pledges and that they currently have just $2 million in cash. As a result, the project must be financed and that process is scheduled to take place this June. But before that happens, the project must get the go ahead from Florida State's Board of Trustees and the financing approved by the Florida Board of Governors.

Should the project clear those hurdles, as expected, the official groundbreaking will take place in December of this year.

With stricter rules on student athletes practicing when there is lightning is in the area and with Florida leading the nation in lightning strikes, Bowden started lobbying for an indoor facility to practice nearly a decade ago. Fisher followed suit and has been a strong advocate for the project.

"The biggest issue we have is we're in the lightning capitol of the world and we get it every doggone day," Fisher said. "It'll be perfectly sunny, beautiful, and if there is lightning anywhere within the surrounding area you have to (leave the practice field). It's an NCAA rule."

In addition to potentially missing out on key practice time because of weather, such facilities can give a school a recruiting advantage. Fellow ACC member Georgia Tech opened its indoor facility nearly a year ago, while Clemson, one of FSU's biggest rivals on the recruiting trail, broke ground on its project earlier this year. Virginia Tech and Virginia are also in the process of raising funds for indoor facilities. Duke even has an indoor facility for its football team already.

"It's out of want to win and things we need to win. And this is the biggest thing that has handicapped us as far as weather conditions," said Fisher.

Florida State Indoor Practice Facility Campaign

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