WEST MANATEE — A set of new buildings under construction on the IMG Academy campus are on their way to bringing more teams and performance training to the private sports-oriented high school.
The prep school has filed plans with Manatee County to construct a team training building that includes offices, conference rooms and locker rooms for visiting teams and athletes. It would be built on the same part of the campus where the school operates its track and field facility and a set of new baseball fields. Under construction nearby is a 65,000-square-foot structure that will house the school’s new Performance and Sport Science Center.
Lakewood Ranch-based Tandem Construction is building that project and has been tapped for the team training building, according to records. Tandem is also building an expansion of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute’s satellite at IMG. The institute will be part of the performance center. Both projects are expected to open this summer.
The school categorizes the proposed team training building as a “potential project.” Its size was not available from either the school or Manatee County.
“As a training home to countless youth, collegiate and professional teams, IMG Academy is exploring the addition of facilities that would support its ability to host more teams in the future,” the school said in a statement Tuesday.
IMG recently hosted the University of Michigan football team for a week of spring practice.
The current and future construction work is part of a $198 million expansion at the campus. While IMG declined to enumerate its construction budget for the performance center or theteam training building, county documents do give some numbers. Per
mits filed for the buildings show a total value of more than $12 million. The team training building has an estimated construction value of $3.1 million.
IMG has budgeted far more for other recent construction projects. In 2010 and 2012, the school applied for county incentive funding based in part on the value of two dormitories it built. The stated value for those buildings was $40 million.
Tandem recently completed a new student union building on the campus. It opened in December.
The latest set of new buildings are being built on 110 acres the school bought from Manatee Fruit Co. for $7.5 million in 2011. IMG bought an additional 24 acres from Manatee Fruit in 2014 for $1.5 million.
Fawley Bryant Architects of Lakewood Ranch designed the performance center and the Gatorade Institute expansion. It is also named in IMG‘s permit application as the architect of record for the team training building.
According to a project profile published on Tandem Construction’s website, the performance institute will be where athletes engage in both physical and mental conditioning. It will feature an 8,000-square-foot weight room. The Gatorade institute, the Hospital for Special Surgery, IMG staff and Under Armour will all have offices in the building. Other spaces include IMGphysical conditioning offices, mental conditioning offices and a “mind gym” that overlooks a two-story workout space.
IMG‘s projects have a special status with the county. Karen Stewart, the county’s economic development program manager, said all construction applications the school submits are given “rapid response” designation. The label can shave several weeks off a project approval.
The school’s expansion activity has drawn millions in public funding to the privately owned institution. Between 2012 and 2014, the state Legislature appropriated $7.3 million for IMG. But Gov. Rick Scott vetoed another $2 million earmarked for the school in 2015, and there are no funds for IMG in the 2016 state budget just approved.
Manatee County has pledged $45,000 in incentive money to IMG. Stewart said the school has met part of its obligation to receive those funds by hiring of 65 new employees.
The school has been identified by the county, state and U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan as an economic driver in the area. Buchanan said he would like to find federal funding or grant money for the school.
IMG Academy is a subsidiary of sports, media, events and fashion company WME-IMG. The school owns about 372 acres along El Conquistador Parkway, according to county records. That acreage includes its campus and a golf course and club.
About 1,000 students attend the academy. The average tuition paid by students, plus room and board, is about $70,000 per year. Approximately 800 people are employed by the academy.
Republished with permission Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027 or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.