The Facilities Arms Race: Starting and never ending with the Power Five

If you haven’t heard, it’s almost a requirement to have an indoor football facility at all SEC schools.

With the Power Five Conferences (Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, SEC) running away with the title of “Most Extravagant”, I wanted to highlight two newer projects in the facilities arms race within college athletics. I chose to examine the changes to Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium and the extravagant “Throws Palace” being built out of 2 empty warehouses at the edge of the University of Michigan’s campus.

Jordan-Hare Stadium

If you haven’t heard, it’s almost a requirement to have an indoor football facility at all SEC schools. If you don’t, you’re behind. If you have the renderings but no physical building, you’re behind, and if it’s not finished yet…you’re still behind.

The next big step in the arms race for who’s who, within the Power Five, is building, creating and expanding recruiting/locker rooms at your school. The additions and changes that will be coming to the Jordan-Hare Stadium were publicly announced last week.

Image from AuburnTigers.com

Construction on the $28 million project is planned to start next month and be finished by July 2018. The facility will be added to the stadium in the southwest corner and will be 44,000 square feet. The home team locker room will undergo a 16,000-square-foot renovation.

“After an extensive planning process, we determined the critical needs were to improve the locker room for our current players and greatly expand and enhance the recruiting space for football and our Olympic sports. I am pleased to share with you some renderings so you can appreciate the ‘wow’ factor this project will create.”

From “A Word from Jay Jacobs” that was released on AuburnTigers.com

Image from AuburnTigers.com

This addition will provide recruits with the story of Auburn’s history, tradition, passion and vision. They will arrive in the recruiting area and see memories of Auburn’s Heisman Trophy winners and other greats.

It will also include two floors of club space for about 800 fans who choose to be a part of it. The club amenities will give fans a place where they can congregate before, during and after games. Club members can enjoy the day’s televised games, good food and something cold to drink.

One of the biggest attractions to this new addition is that the Olympic sport recruiting space will nearly double in size. Yes, you heard that right. It will be a multi-purpose facility, not just specifically for football even though it is attached to the football stadium.

Along with bolstering recruits for football and Auburn’s other Olympic sports, they plan to use this to enhance the game day experience.

Auburn’s game day experience was voted #1 in the SEC for the 2nd straight year, and with this new addition it doesn’t look like they will be giving up the crown anytime soon.

Jay Jacobs, Athletics Director for Auburn University, has said that due to the support of their exceptional donors, they have already raised 30 percent of the cost of this phase of the project.

“Scripture tells us your heart is where your treasure is. I have a heart for student-athletes first. Doing all we can to enhance the student-athlete experience has and will continue to be my priority for facilities projects and programs we invest in at Auburn Athletics.”

Ann Arbor “Throws Palace”

The “Throws Palace” respectfully known as the “Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus Athletics South Competition and Performance Project” is the next big thing coming to Ann Arbor in 2018. Construction is already underway in preparation for the facility that will cost an estimated $168 million.

The fieldhouse or “palace” will contain a state-of-the-art 200-meter, banked, hydraulic track surrounded by a three-lane, 300-meter practice track, a weight room with 42 platforms, training facilities for the rowing, soccer, tennis, wrestling, lacrosse and gymnastics teams, and enough locker room space for a good chunk of the civilized world. In other words, this facility will most likely be the envy of all Big Ten schools once it is completed.

Michigan’s head track and field coach Jerry Clayton, is the man behind the facility. Clayton, also the throws coach (javelin, shot-put, discus, hammer throw), has a good deal of expertise in the construction of track and field facilities. When the athletic department acquired two old warehouses on the edge of campus and decided that the land they occupied would be an ideal spot on which to build new indoor and outdoor track facility, Jerry was the perfect guy for the job.

From Support.mgoblue.com

“During the fall of my second year, they really started serious planning. They knew that I had built facilities at three of my previous four jobs, and it was incredible how much the administration allowed my input,” Jerry told Daniel McQuaid at ‘The Wonderful World of Throwing.’

Given the opportunity to design the new facility at Michigan, Clayton tried to combine the best features of all the others he had helped build.

From Support.mgoblue.com

One of the defining features of the new facility will be the indoor/outdoor feature. This feature will give track and field throwers the ability to stay inside due to weather, but throw outside into their competition field, maximizing space and time.

The facility is set to open in January 2018, with a quad meet featuring Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan State.

“Jerry predicts that meet can be completed in two hours, compared to the normal 8+ hours it takes to finish a small collegiate track and field meet. He is also trying to put together a Big 10 v. ACC challenge featuring at least nine teams, which he believes will take no more than five hours, start to finish,” said Daniel McQuaid.

From Support.mgoblue.com

In total, the facility will house a new rowing team center, a 2,000-seat lacrosse stadium (the first-ever lacrosse stadium at UM), a 500-seat outdoor track stadium, a 2,000-seat indoor track stadium and:

● an indoor rowing tank

● coaching offices

● rowing team locker rooms

● men’s and women’s lacrosse locker rooms

● a player lounge

● film rooms

● coaching offices for lacrosse and soccer

● strength and conditioning facilities

● sports medicine facilities

● hydrotherapy and treadmill pools

● a nutrition center

● multipurpose rooms for team meetings, meals and events

From Support.mgoblue.com

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