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first_img Published on September 16, 2013 at 12:45 am Contact Trevor: [email protected] | @TrevorHass Syracuse University officials broke ground on a $13 million indoor football practice facility at Lower Coyne Field on the Lampe Athletic Complex on Sunday morning in a ceremony starting at 10:30 a.m.The facility is slated for completion in eight to nine months. The project was initially announced in February and entered the design phase this summer.“It’s an exciting, extremely motivating day,” said football head coach Scott Shafer, “and we look forward to jumping into that indoor facility as soon as they get it up.”SU Athletic Director Daryl Gross commenced the building process of the 102,258-square foot structure in front of an audience that included Chancellor Nancy Cantor, Hall of Famer Floyd Little and Shafer, among several other prominent SU Athletics figures.Following an 18-minute ceremony capped with champagne, Cantor, Shafer, Little and other SU benefactors used shovels to break ground on the facility, symbolizing the start of the project.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe field inside the state-of-the-art building will be named after John F. Phelan, who played for Syracuse in 1940 and died in France during World War II in 1944. Board of Trustees chairman Richard L. Thompson and his wife Jean Thompson – Phelan’s daughter and a Syracuse graduate – are largely responsible for funding the facility.The Thompsons donated $1 million to SU Athletics in July when Syracuse officially moved from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference. They have been consistent supporters of the “I’m in” campaign, a full-fledged effort to take the athletic department to the next level, according to the SU Athletics website.At the event, Dick Thompson spoke about how Syracuse has kept par with other schools with better funding. Now, he said he hopes this facility will bump SU into the next echelon of programs, adding that the facility’s creation is a “huge accomplishment.”Gross discussed how the facility embodies everything Syracuse represents and that it’s a tremendous milestone for the university.“We got some things done without this facility,” Gross said. “This will only enhance it.”Shafer said his team shares the Carrier Dome with the basketball team during the latter half of the football season, which minimizes how much the team can do because it can only use 50 or 60 yards during practice.He said he hopes the new complex will help resolve this issue and will give Syracuse a chance to be more competitive in the ACC.Little said his goal is for the facility to attract recruits the same way as the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center, which was built in 2009, does. He said the timing of the facility “could not be better,” as the university transitions into a new conference.“The facility can do for football what the Carmelo Anthony Center did for basketball,” Little said.Following the announcement, Joe Giansante, executive senior associate athletics director, closed the ceremony, expressing his gratitude to all those involved.“Today is a culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people,” Giansante said, “to continue this incredible momentum that has been started here at Syracuse University.” Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img read more