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Ribbons are Cut for Martinez Athletics Center and HSHP

Published: September 27, 2012
The re-dedication of the Martinez Athletics Center and dedication of the Health Sciences and Human Performance building were held Sept. 27. *
The re-dedication of the Martinez Athletics Center and dedication of the Health Sciences and Human Performance building were held Sept. 27. *

View photos from the event.

Spartan basketball guard Ryan Kidd ’14 is ecstatic about the new facilities at the Martinez Athletics Center (MAC).

“It’s changed everything,” said Kidd, president of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee who attended the Sept. 27 re-dedication of the center and dedication of the adjacent Health Sciences and Human Performance (HSHP) building.

“The whole vibe with the message of unity and emphasis on Spartans, I just love it,” said Kidd, a chemistry major. “Every athlete I’ve talked with loves it.”

Former Florida Gov. Bob Martinez ’57, an alumnus, trustee and trustee emeritus who the facility is named after, said he would watch through binoculars from his downtown office — Martinez serves as a senior policy advisor at Holland and Knight LLP — as the façade of the athletics center evolved.

He expected to be surprised when he walked into the building this morning.

“But I was shocked,” said Martinez, impressed with renovation. He was also humbled.

“It’s a great honor when you are recognized and still vertical,” he joked.

In addition to serving as Florida’s governor, Martinez served as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, mayor of Tampa and vice chairman of the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

“This dedication is a reflection of this governor’s commitment to the Tampa Bay community,” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “In his quiet, humble, unassuming way, he has worked to make this a great city.”

Tampa is situated in an excellent position for growth, and UT is a key part of that, Buckhorn said.

Provost Janet McNew addressed the academic expansion of the Health Sciences and Human Performance building, which serves students in these majors as well as nursing and other natural sciences.

“There’s been an explosion of interest in this area, and we’ve added majors and are considering adding a graduate program,” McNew said. “This is a quite a nice home for our bourgeoning HSHP program.”

UT President Ronald Vaughn noted the history of the building, which was constructed during the Great Depression in the early 1930s. During the renovation process, lettering from the Jackson Horticulture Hall, spoke to the building’s Florida State Fair history.

Larry Marfise, UT’s athletics director, wants all students who walk through the center’s doors to feel proud to be Spartans.

“I really don’t know how to explain what we have here,” Marfise noted, describing a young, barely 20-year-old athletics program with successes such as 12 national championships and a vast number of Academic All-Americans. “It’ really a remarkable story, and it was all done in an old, crusty facility.”

“This facility highlights our past and our present and will host our future,” Marfise said.

A few of the center’s highlights:

  • There are 425 lockers — 213 for women, 212 for men. There are additional locker rooms and lockers for UT faculty/staff, game officials and visiting teams.
  • The sandblasted sculptural UT logo above the entrance to the MAC consists of a 7-foot diameter, etched-glass center, surrounded by a 10-foot diameter metal ring. The glass medallion may be the largest exterior-edge lit, etched-glass sculpture of its kind.
  • The MAC lobby utilizes six large skylights.
  • The sword in the east wall of the Sword & Shield Room is 45 feet tall and made of stainless steel. It has a concealed LED lighting scheme that can be controlled to shine red or white.
  • The shield in the Sword & Shield Room is made of fiberglass and steel and is 24 feet in diameter.
  • The 2,000-pound shield had to be delivered to the site in three pieces: two halves and the formed UT logo.
  • The custom-made bronze Spartan helmet was crafted by Eric Thorsen of Bigfork, MT.
  • The two full-figure Spartan warrior sculptures standing guard in front of the MAC were crafted by W. Stanley “Sandy” Proctor of Tallahassee, FL.
  • The Spartan sculpture that today is the centerpiece of the Spartan Hall of Champions was also Proctor’s creation. It was a gift to the University from the UT classes of 2004 and 2005, and previously stood watch in front of the MAC.
  • Parts of the MAC and HSHP were originally constructed as exhibit halls for the Florida State Fair, which was located on what is now UT property until 1973. 

*Pictured from left are Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Renée Vaughn, UT President Ronald Vaughn, Provost Janet McNew, HSHP Chair J.C. Andersen, Student Government President Matthew Rutkovitz ’13, Dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences James Gore and Chair of the UT Board of Trustees Don DeFosset.

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