When new Jaguars owner Shad Khan took over control of the team in mid-January, he vowed that he would do whatever it takes to lead the Jacksonville to the Super Bowl. And he indicated there would be changes made along the way. Khan continues to embrace change, and thus far it's all been of a positive nature for the Jaguars and their fans. The latest milestone in Khan's attempt to turn Jacksonville into a winner on and off the field, came when it was revealed that the organization had decided to build an indoor practice facility. Such a move had been an on-and-off topic for years, dating back to the early 2000s when then-coach Tom Coughlin was endorsing the validity of such a facility due to the unpredictable weather that the team had to endure during training camp and early in the season. The sudden-burst thunderstorms accompanied by lightning flashes caused for numerous Jaguars practices to be shortened, delayed or even cancelled. The quest for such a practice building drew more support with Jack Del Rio, but the former Jaguars coach never could convince then-owner Wayne Weaver of the need for such a facility.
It didn't take new coach Mike Mularkey and Khan to come to the same conclusion however, that such a facility was needed. The Jaguars were forced to practice indoors on three of the 13 days designated for team OTAs or the veterans' mandatory minicamp during May and June. Twice they moved to a VIP suite reception area inside the stadium where pass patterns could be no longer than 10 yards without running into a wall or window. They were able to utilize the 50-yard long field of arena football at the nearby city-owned facility, but only because the field was prepared for the local team's home game that weekend.
But that should all be memories of the past once the new $10 million facility is built.
"The team has decided, consistent with what Shad did before, we need to give our team the support systems to give it the best chance to succeed," Jaguars president Mark Lamping said. "I think falling under that umbrella includes being able to practice when it's raining outside and not having to go up to the West Club (lounge area)."
The project is still in the planning stages. The exact location has yet to be decided, nor what type of structure it will be, whether a permanent building or a bubble-like facility. It will be in the same area as the current Jaguars practice fields as the team wants the flexibility of being able to move indoors as quickly as one of the afternoon rain showers can appear.
The announcement of the new indoor practice facility continues an upgrade of what has already started at EverBank Field. Khan earlier announced that he would sink $3 million into the renovation of the team locker room. That was to include expanding the area to include 90 lockers so that everyone on the spring/summer roster would have a permanent locker. Last year when the team was allowed to have that many players on the roster, temporary lockers were brought into an already-crowded locker room.
Digital upgrades to the video screens in the stadium began last year and there are plans for more upgrades to the scoreboard, though that $6-8 million cost wouldn't likely occur until next year or the year after.
Even the city of Jacksonville has invested in the upgrades of EverBank Field. Nearly $3 million will be spent to enhance the sound system and emanate from all over the stadium and not just from the scoreboard.
Upgrades to Everbank Field On the Way?
Jags Illustrated Top Stories
Paper Weight: An Interview w/ Allen HurnsJaguars WR Allen Hurns earned a 4 year $40 million contract this past offseason, $20 million of which is guaranteed. A lot of players might fold under the pressure of their first…
Jags IllustratedYesterday at 3:20 PM
The Great EscapeThis team needs to get out of town. Out of the state. Out of the timezone. Out of the hemisphere. Okay not quite that far, but almost.
Jags IllustratedWednesday at 6:38 PM
London's Gentleman: Roy Miller InterviewI sat down with Jags DT Roy Miller in the locker room. We discussed everything from Gus Bradley's future to the trip to London.
Jags IllustratedWednesday at 7:00 AM
Identity CrisisThe Jags have started the 2016 season on a rough note. 0-3 is a tough pill to swallow and many fans are calling for Gus Bradley’s job. People are even starting to question their…
Jags IllustratedTuesday at 3:48 AM