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- 2013 - February - 19th -

Jaguars plan $4M second phase of EverBank Field renovations

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

The Jacksonville Jaguars organization is planning a $4 million second phase of renovations for player and coaching areas at EverBank Field, following a $3 million first-phase project last year.

Chief Financial Officer Bill Prescott on Monday said the Jaguars organization paid for the first phase and will pay for the second. Completion is expected in late June.

The renovations continue the locker-room and other improvements begun last year and paid for by new owner Shad Khan.

The coach and locker-room facilities had not been renovated since the stadium was built in 1995, according to the Jaguars.

The Jaguars applied with the City for an interior demolition permit for coaches' offices, medical areas and other rooms, including the general manager's room and owner's room.

The owner is listed as Jacksonville Jaguars LLC and Prescott is listed as the contact. Khan is shown on state records as the manager of the limited liability company.

Turner Construction Co. is shown as the contractor for the $80,000 demolition project of 10,023 square feet of space at the 1 EverBank Field Drive stadium.

Populous of Kansas City, Mo., is shown as the design firm.

Plans filed with the City show detailed demolition notes for 32 areas, including the head coach's office and toilet and showers; assistant coaches' rooms; the general manager and the owner's locker rooms; a doctor's office; the hydro room; the rehab room; the training room and weight room; and more.

"This is just phase two of re-doing our areas," said Dan Edwards, senior vice president of communications for the Jaguars.

"Last year's rebuilding of the locker room was phase one," he said, explaining the pending renovations involve the areas that include the training room, rehab area, coaches' locker room, X-ray room and others.

"This is the first renovations of these areas since the stadium was built," he said.

Last year's phase was captured in an Oct. 6, 2012, report in The New York Times by writer Judy Battista that said:

"The Jacksonville Jaguars have one victory, the lowest-ranked offense and one of the worst run defenses after the first month of the N.F.L. season. But they do have wenge-wood lockers and backlighted mirrors."

Khan paid $760 million to buy the Jaguars in January 2012. With new coach Mike Mularkey and veteran General Manager Gene Smith, the team went 2-14 in the first season under Khan's ownership, improving little after Battista's report.

Mularkey and Smith were dismissed after the season ended and Khan brought in new general manager Dave Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley, who has restructured the coaching staff.

The Jaguars recently released a new logo, pricing structure and slogan for 2013 — Stand United — to prepare for the upcoming season, in which the NFL franchise also will play the first of four annual games in London.

The team also wants almost $50 million in new video boards from the City. Jaguars executives said they hope to use creative financing, including revenue the City receives from the stadium.

Battista wrote in October that the Jaguars spent more than $3 million to build the NFL's "most luxurious locker room" that "looks like a cross between a high-end nightclub (a 41,600-watt sound system) and a five-star hotel (stacked stone wall tile) and is so deluxe that the team recently used it to host a dinner for sponsors."

Battista wrote that under Khan's ownership, "the Jaguars have embraced their inner interior designer, replete with two waterfalls that splash into plunge pools, Euro-style toilets inside individual private stalls and leather chairs custom-built extra wide to accommodate even the heftiest linemen. There are ventilation systems built into each locker to dry equipment, helping the Jaguars to pull off the unimaginable: the locker room smells like a new car instead of a sweaty sock."

Battista quoted Khan's son, Tony, a team executive as saying "it's first class, just to show that's how he does things. It's the best locker room in the N.F.L. He wants this to be the best organization in the N.F.L."

Shad Khan paid for it and personally met with the designers and approved the details, according to the Times.

The overhaul was designed to help recruit players and show players they are valued by the Jaguars, according to the report.

"When they recruit players, they may struggle to sell history or endorsement opportunities. But when the door to the locker room swings open, one of the first things visible is an 80-inch television, and that sells something else: the signal that the team will spare no expense to be excellent at everything."

According to the Times: "The locker room looks like a modern SoHo apartment — that is, if modern SoHo apartments had space for shoulder pads — all high ceilings and dim lights. There are a few issues remaining. The large garbage cans around the room, which look like shiny black plastic, do not quite fit the aesthetic the way, say, stainless steel might."

The pending round of renovations includes:

• Corridor, storage and administration work.

• Areas for the head coach, including the toilet and shower area, and for the assistant coach, strength coaches and trainers.

• X-ray room, equipment room, hydro room, doctor office, rehab room, weight room and ceiling.

• Slab demolition for electrical outlets, plumbing and piping.

• General manager and owner's locker room.

The Jaguars played their first home preseason game in the stadium on Aug. 18, 1995, marking the first time in sports history that an expansion team had played its first home game in its inaugural season in a new stadium or arena, reports jaguars.com.

"Not only that, but it was built faster than any major league stadium had ever been built in North America," it said.

The old Gator Bowl was demolished and the new stadium built in 191/2 months.

In 2005, the stadium hosted Super Bowl XXXIX after a $63 million renovation in preparation for the event.

Herlong Recreational

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority proposes to rehabilitate its fixed-base operation building at Herlong Recreational Airport at 9300 Normandy Blvd. Plans filed with the City show a $299,655 project. The contractor is shown as C.C. Borden Construction Inc.

Parrish retires from The Bridge

Davalu "Davy" Parrish announced her retirement from The Bridge of Northeast Florida, which she has served as president and CEO for 30 years.

Parrish stepped down Friday as CEO, according to a letter she penned to the community. She will serve on the board of directors and be a resource and supporter for the new leadership team.

The search for a new CEO is under way.

Donna Arias, The Bridge CFO for the past five years, has been appointed chief operating officer and will manage day-to-day operations. She has worked with Parrish the past two years as part of the group's succession planning.

The Bridge of Northeast Florida Inc. describes itself as a 501c3 organization whose goal is to provide the children that live in some of Jacksonville's most crime-infested, impoverished neighborhoods with the opportunities they need to overcome barriers and to support them as they aspire to better their lives. For more information, visit bridgejax.com.

Arias will oversee a team of program managers who have worked with The Bridge and its students and families. Bridge board member Brian King chairs the transition committee to search for a new CEO.

"There are many qualities we will be looking for in our new CEO," said Judy Law, chair of The Bridge board of directors.

"We are looking for someone with all the wonderful qualities Davy had, which propelled this organization. We will look for someone who is a visionary leader, has a passion for children, understands social justice and educational challenges, and understands the importance of the community network and fundraising," Law said.

During the 2011-12 school year, more than 3,500 students were served through Bridge programs. Last summer, The Bridge placed a record number of 205 teenagers into paid summer jobs and internships.

In 2012, The Bridge said the students it serves achieved an 86 percent high-school graduation rate, compared with 72 percent for Duval County schools overall. Basic physicals and dental care were provided to more than 195 students.

Partnerships include year-round mentoring programs with five businesses: Baptist Health, Shands Hospital, EverBank, Lender Processing Services and JEA. Other groups and individuals who have contributed include the Jacksonville Children's Commission, the Jaguars Foundation, United Way of Northeast Florida, Dr. Doris Carson, Carol Thompson, Delores Barr Weaver, Gary Chartrand and others.

Chamber members approve merger

Members of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce and Ponte Vedra Beach Chamber of Commerce unanimously voted Friday to merge the organizations.

The Ponte Vedra Beach Chamber will become the Ponte Vedra Beach Division of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce.

The Ponte Vedra Beach chamber was incorporated in 1996 and has more than 300 members. The merger creates a combined chamber of about 1,100 members.

The St. Johns County chamber began in 1904 as the Board of Trade in St. Augustine and became the Chamber of Commerce in 1930. The St. Augustine & St. Johns County Chamber incorporated in 1978 and the name was changed to the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce in 2005.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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