View Full Version : Max Starks building Education and Sports Center in Orlando

06-19-2011, 08:27 AM
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Max Starks has a vision.

He wants to help educate the estimated 20 percent of people in the Orlando market who can't read.

It's a dream fueled by hometown passion.

It's a future that doesn't have a defined date, but Phase 1 is complete.

And according to Starks, it's a vision the mayor is happy to see.

In the coming years, Starks announced Friday at the Butler Balcony in the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel, he will build the Max Starks Education and Sports Center at a site still to be determined in the Greater Orlando area.

Starks plans on putting heavy emphasis on the "education" part of his center. It won't just be a gym with courts or a place for after-school recreation programs.

One vision is a mini-television studio that teaches children how to run the equipment and produce a show and convey to them first-hand what a press conference is like or how to be a reporter.

"Showing them a lot of multi-faceted assets inside of a given field," said Starks, who played for Lake Highland Prep and the University of Florida. "Not just saying, because you're a football player, that's where the media comes in. No, media also comes in from different aspects."

Starks wants to prepare children that if sports doesn't work out, there is something else they could do.

The building, designed by Starmer Randali Architects, will feature a combination of athletics, education and research for all ages.

"It will be a place with training to help kids understand that sports is not just about the athletes," Starmer said. "There's a lot more around sports than that."

Starmer, along with RT Hillery of RLH Consulting and Management, sat down with Starks to hear about his vision in order to help their design.

"Max is passionate about the literacy problem," Hillery said. "He wants a place with elements where children can learn to read and have tutoring and have a library to get books from. He wants to show families that not everyone is the star athlete, but you can use sports as a vehicle to get you where you want to go." Everybody can't play football at a high level but they can get journalism jobs and other jobs."

Starks said because the city liked his vision, some hard details will be nailed down in the next 60 to 90 days. While the NFL lockout is hurting many, it's allowing Starks to have meetings and brain-storming about a future center he said will help people of all ages but will strongly focus on children.

"Our children are tomorrow's leaders," Starks said. "Having all of these skills and having a multitude of talents will only make them that greater of a citizen in the future."

Link (http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/football/os-max-starks-sports-complex-orlando-20110617,0,5682129.story)