Seminole County, architect far apart on cost of new sports complex

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. —

Seminole County might have to shell out more money if it wants a premier sports complex.
 
Designs for the facility just off Lake Mary Boulevard are coming in much at a much higher cost than anticipated.
           
The county wants to replace an abandoned orange grove with a facility that houses a dozen fields for soccer, lacrosse, football and softball.
 
They hope to have the fields ready for play by 2016.
 
County officials said they have up to $20 million budgeted for the project but the architect's proposals are in the $34 million to $40 million range.      
 
"That is putting all the bells and whistles on it. We now need to go back and look a little closer," said Joe Abel, Seminole County Leisure Services director.
 
Able told Channel 9's Racquel Asa that he received the plans Monday morning and his department hasn't had a chance to see what it can take out to stay within budget.
 
But with such a big difference between what the county is willing to pay and what the architect designed to fulfill the county's wish list Asa asked if the county would get all they wanted for $20 million.
 
"Yes. There is always that, 'What do you want and what do you need?'" said Abel.
 
Asa had no response from the architect when she called to ask why the company would design a facility that went well beyond what the county is willing to pay.
 
Abel said the county is committed to the project, as long as it is within budget.
 
"The goal is to not go over $20 million," said Abel.
 
The facility would be paid for using tourism tax money. Officials said they hope to break ground on the facility later this year.