DAVIE — As the Dolphins continue working through possibilities for their football headquarters, they’ve reached a straightforward conclusion: Their current setup is unfit for an NFL team.
The organization has done the best it can to modernize the practice facility in Davie, located on Nova Southeastern University’s campus, but isn’t content to leave it as is. The decision now is whether to embark on a major modernization and expansion of the current facility or build a new one elsewhere.
“Nova Southeastern is a fantastic partner to us, but there are some things about this facility that are dated and that need to be improved in terms of the amount of space that we have,” team president Tom Garfinkel said today. “The players walk across a hallway to take a shower, you know? It’s not ideal from some of those standpoints, so I think we recognize it’s time to upgrade some of the things in the facility.
“We’ll either do that here or build a new one. We’re weighing our options.”
Garfinkel spoke primarily to address news that the North America group won the hosting rights for the 2026 World Cup. Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens is one of 17 sites in the United States under consideration for games and has an excellent chance of being selected when FIFA finalizes the 12 cities it plans to use.
While the Dolphins are highly active in that process — Stephen Ross owns the stadium and has pumped millions of his own dollars into recent renovations with the ambition of transforming it into a world-class entertainment venue — it has no bearing on their plans for a practice facility.
The team will remain at its current location through the 2019 season at a minimum. While Garfinkel did not give a timetable for opening a new or revamped facility, documents submitted for the World Cup bid indicate the Dolphins intend to have something completed no later than 2022. That was included because soccer teams will be able to use it for practices.
Garfinkel joked that in a perfect world they’d figure out what they’re doing “tomorrow,” but added there’s no deadline forcing the Dolphins to make a decision.
“When it’s time to go, I like to go,” he said. “We’re working hard on it right now. Once we make that decision, we go.”
He reiterated multiple times that this is rooted solely in the desire to build a better practice venue and there are no issues with Nova.
“We have a great relationship with them; Everything’s been fine,” Garfinkel said. “It’s just the facility itself, compared to other NFL facilities, is a little small. We have some space constraints that we want to improve on.”
The only alternative that’s been made public is Miramar, where the city has already held a town hall to discuss a proposed site.
It’s also possible for the team to build one on Hard Rock Stadium’s property, where it’s currently constructing a tennis venue to hold the Miami Open beginning next year. The stadium’s grounds are more expansive than many people might realize and certainly have enough space for a practice facility.
The organization has also looked into several other potential sites around Broward and Dade Counties.
As for Hard Rock Stadium, it’s already hosted many international soccer events and wouldn’t necessarily need any noticeable alterations to be in play for the World Cup.
“The stadium is really well-suited to it now,” Garfinkel said. “I don’t know that there’s big changes that’ll go into place for the World Cup, but that’s 2026, so that’s a ways off. We’ve got some time to figure that out.”
The Dolphins have been based on Nova’s campus since 1993 and seem amenable to staying there if they can build the facility they want.
All football staff work out of the Davie facility, which has two outdoor practice fields, the indoor practice bubble and training equipment. The business operations are housed in Hard Rock Stadium.
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