August 31, 2002
Take a tour around FIU's University Park campus, and it's obvious there's lots of work going on. Cranes, concrete and hard hats indicate that the place continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and one of the fastest-growing construction sites sits on the west end of the FIU Community Stadium.
In preparation for the debut FIU football season kickoff of Aug. 31, 2002, the stadium is undergoing a major expansion and reconstruction project. The stadium, which currently seats less than 10,000, will be expanded.
"We're immensely fortunate to have a pre-existing stadium on our campus. This gives us a huge advantage over our competition," said FIU Athletic Director Rick Mello. "We're really excited about the stadium expansion. This will be an arena that will please our fans and players alike."
In addition to increased stadium seating, the Golden Panthers are eagerly awaiting completion of a new 17,000-square-foot field house, which will include two locker rooms consisting of 120 lockers; a 2,200-square-foot meeting area with retractable doors for large and small team meetings; separate locker rooms for players and coaches; a 1,200- square-foot training facility; a state-of-the-art, 5,300 -square-foot weight room; and equipment and laundry rooms.
"We're all looking forward to thecompletion of the field house," said Strock. "This will be our home away from home, and we think it's going to inspire our players to perform at their best level."
The FIU football and track and field teams train and compete at the newly renovated FIU Stadium on the University Park campus.
Opened in the fall of 1995 at a cost of more than $3 million, the stadium is situated on land that straddles the university and Miami-Dade County-owned Tamiami Park. Highlights of the facility include permanent seating for some 7,000 spectators, restrooms, concession stands, a new field house and lights for night competition.
As upgrades to the facility, the university invested another $825,000 for the installation of its state-of-the-art AstroPlay artificial playing surface. Billed as a new concept in turf systems, it is a grass-like, non-abrasive, polyethylene fiber matrix that is filled with special rubber granules. Field drainage is superb.
Temporary improvements like scoreboards on either end of the playing field, a message center, sound-system enhancements, a press box and a skybox will be added to increase spectator involvement and comfort.
Besides FIU athletics, the site remains a primary venue for high school football and track competitions and special events. Several of the university's commencement ceremonies, homecoming festivities and concerts have all taken place within the stadium.
As a track and field venue, FIU Community Stadium's GTE Rack 4000 track is a red polyurethane/rubberized surface that runs east-west and meets Olympic standards. The eight-lane 400-meter all-weather track includes two long jump and triple jump pits, high jump and pole vault areas and a water barrier for the steeplechase.
From Miami International Airport
Take State Road No. 836 West (Dolphin Expressway) to Northwest 107 Avenue/South exit. Proceed south on 107 Avenue to Southwest Eighth Street (SR 41/Tamiami Trail). Turn right on Eighth Street, two traffic lights to Southwest 112 Avenue. Turn left onto campus.
Traveling north or south on I-95, exit at State Road 836 West (Dolphin Expressway) to Northwest 107 Avenue/South exit. Proceed south on 107 Avenue to Southwest Eighth Street (SR 41/Tamiami Trail). Turn right on Eighth Street, two traffic lights to Southwest 112 Avenue. Turn left onto campus.
From the Palmetto Expressway (SR 826)
Traveling north or south on the Palmetto Expressway, exit westbound on Southwest Eighth Street (SR 41/Tamiami Trail). Proceed to Southwest 112 Avenue. Turn left onto campus.
From Florida Turnpike
Exit at Southwest Eighth Street (No. 25/Tamiami Trail). Turn right on Eighth Street (SR 41/Tamiami Trail). Proceed to Southwest 112 Avenue. Turn right onto campus