There are amenities and then there are world-class amenities. This is a key selling point when Florida Atlantic University (FAU) showcases the new Schmidt Family Complex for Athletic and Academic Excellence to potential recruits of its crown jewel, the school's revitalized football program.
And why not? With a price tag exceeding $45 million to complete this remarkable facility, expect no stone to be left unturned where promotional campaigns are concerned. Talking with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, head coach Lane Kiffin explained that only one thing stood in the way of FAU Football’s ability to attract top-level talent.
"The only thing anybody else has to say negative about Florida Atlantic is one thing: the facilities and the weight room," Kiffin said. "Well, that's easy. That's already being fixed. To know that is awesome. You can't change a lot of things about the school. You can't change the location, you can't change stadium size, you can't change a lot of things, but you can change that."
He's right. Especially with a 100,000+ square foot state-of-the-art exclamation point at his disposal. Everything about this new addition to FAU’s main campus, located just up the road from BarCharts Publishing, in Boca Raton, Florida speaks of next level college athletics and academics. Seen as the epitome of on-campus student life in the 21st Century, the Schmidt Family Complex is considered a near-perfect balancing act of competitive preparation, classroom dedication and the social collaboration of it all.
“I think it will be competitive with any facility in the country, regardless of the level,” then new FAU athletic director Brian White told the Sun Sentinel. “It will look like a Power Five facility. It’s going to be new locker rooms, new coaches offices, new recruiting areas, a new strength, and conditioning sports performance center that looks onto the new practice field.”
And there’s no shortage of financial backing from those who support the Owl Nation. Helping fund the new facility is Richard and Barbara Schmidt of the Schmidt Family Foundation, whose $16 million dollar contribution is the single largest donation ever received in school history. Additionally, the FAU Foundation has raised $33.5 million for the project and will chip in $6.5 million more it had already set aside.
“We hope that the academic performance of student-athletes will be enhanced,” Richard Schmidt explained to the FAU University Press regarding the projects ultimate goal. “As the athletic prowess of the Florida Atlantic manifests itself and raises the quality of the college experience here on all levels.”
Built in two phases, the 1st phase saw the completion of newly renovated locker rooms and training facilities at FAU Stadium, the university’s 30,000-seat on-campus sports and entertainment hub. Phase two, expected to be completed by this summer, includes new offices for the athletic department, two full-size outdoor football practice fields and will house additional classroom and study centers for student-athletes of the university’s 21 sports programs.