Three Collegiate Facility Transformations
Athletic facilities can be some of the most popular buildings on collegiate campuses. To maintain that status, they must constantly reinvent to recruit and support the best student-athletes, generate revenue for the institution, and deliver a positive fan experience. Facility transformations can range from simple renovations that enhance one specific area of the building, to multi-phased, complex projects that touch every square foot and span years of design and construction. Whatever the project entails, these projects can breathe new life into a tired facility, regenerating excitement for that athletic program.
Here are three of DLR Group most impactful, recent athletic facility transformations .
DLR Group’s design for the University of Minnesota men’s hockey locker suite gives the Gophers a new recruiting edge and its players an improved experience off the ice year-round. The existing home to one of college hockey’s most storied and respected programs inside Mariucci Arena, which opened in 1993, had become outdated by most modern standards and was in dire need of an overhaul. The existing 13,000-square-foot locker facility and adjacent spaces were gutted and completely re-envisioned, positively impacting every space within the suite.
The coaching staff’s primary goal for updating the space was to incorporate appropriate technology and graphics that would create a “wow” factor for recruiting, and enhance the overall student-athlete experience. Dark metal and wood throughout is a symbolic nod to the blue-collar, hard-nosed qualities of a University of Minnesota hockey player, while graphics, sleek patterns, lighting, and technology are used to illustrate the speed and precision players embody on the ice. The main corridor outside the locker room pays homage to past national champions, Olympians, all-Americans, NHL players, and award-winners, as a daily reinforcement of the program’s high standards.
The transformation provides players and coaches all the tools they need to excel on the ice, such as a dynamic locker room; an enhanced training room; coach and player meeting spaces; and a team lounge, which gives them an inviting and comfortable environment to enjoy their time both in- and out-of-season.
The overarching goal for the renovation and expansion of the University of Wyoming’s Rochelle Athletic Center into the Mick and Susie McMurry High Altitude Performance Center was to recruit and develop student-athletes to their fullest potential. Sited in the north end zone of War Memorial Stadium at 7,220 feet above sea level, the Center highlights the University of Wyoming football program, while also serving more than 400 student-athletes in all men’s and women’s intercollegiate programs. One of the signature features of DLR Group’s design is the expansive 12,000-square-foot weight room specifically designed for football strength training and conditioning. The façade fronts the field to the south, exposing live and TV audience spectators into the heart of Wyoming football.
The existing football coaches’ office suite and meeting rooms have been reconfigured and enlarged to accommodate Division I rules that now allow for larger permanent staff sizes and support the growing demands of a championship program.
To serve all student-athletes on campus, DLR Group and partner firm Pappas also expanded and reconfigured an academic center on the second level to house academic counselors, tutoring areas, and a computer lab. The Sports Medicine, Rehabilitation, and Recovery area nearly doubled in size from its previous space for the treatment and care of all UW student-athletes. A new Training Table offers a dynamic space focused on nutrition for student-athlete meals, and provides options for casual and intimate dining opportunities. This space also overlooks the football playing field and provides game-day hospitality to celebrate Wyoming athletics.
Enhancing the Fan Experience
Since 1999, the University of Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajun baseball program has consistently ranked in the national Top 20 roster of total and average home attendance. M.L. Tigue Moore Field has hosted the Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament five times; NCAA Regionals three times; and the NCAA Super Regionals once. With all the fanfare the stadium, which opened in 1978, needed upgrades to elevate its status among other stadiums in the Sun Belt Conference and top programs across the country.
DLR Group partnered with Abell Crozier Davis Architects to enhance the newly-named Russo Park fan experience behind home plate. A new seating structure elevates and reconfigures the seating bowl, allowing patrons to see beyond the existing dugouts and grandstands so as not to miss a minute of the action. A newly-created structure behind the seating provides a modern press box and upgraded viewing experiences from suites and club spaces. Patio boxes down the first- and third-base lines, and loge boxes on the upper concourse, are fitted with fixed bar stools and high-top tables. The renovation design also creates a new protected concourse with direct views to the field and premium seating directly behind the home plate field wall. After this significant transformation, the team now has a home worthy of its status as one of the top baseball programs in the country.
Learn more about how design can impact collegiate recruiting.