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Top 7 Women’s Student-Athlete Facilities

Andrew Kelly

June 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The premise of Title IX is simple – to provide equal opportunities in sports and education regardless of gender. As a leader in sports facility design, we partner with university clients to create environments that serve the needs of all programs and their student-athletes.

The 50th anniversary of Title IX is an opportunity to celebrate progress over the last half century. It also spotlights the significant strides we must continue to make for our daughters, sisters, family members, friends, neighbors, and the members of our global community.

Below are some of my favorite designs that celebrate and elevate women’s programs at seven universities across the country.

wood display with photos under a three dimensional blue, black, and yellow graphic wall. a black ceiling with parallel lights
Student-Athlete High Performance Center at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ.

Women’s and men’s athletic programs at Northern Arizona University regularly hoist championship trophies at the conference, division, and national levels. To continue this winning tradition, in 2022 the University opened the new Student-Athlete High Performance Center that serves all women’s and men’s teams. It is home to the country’s largest altitude training chamber on a collegiate campus – arguably one of the biggest contributors to the championship cross country dynasty that NAU has built and strives to continue.

Wood practice court with basketball hoops along sides and UH logo at center. Grey and red stripes on walls with banners left
Guy V. Lewis Development Facility at University of Houston in Houston, TX.

Women’s and men’s basketball programs at the University of Houston are offered identical amenities in the Guy V. Lewis Development Facility, a complex that enhances the daily life of Cougar student-athletes. The facility brings together all the elements the teams need to excel, from rest and recovery, nutrition, health and wellness, academic support, training, and team building. Student-athletes daily routines were carefully integrated into the plan to create a highly efficient space. The Houston brand is expressed throughout and can be seen on the exterior of the building as well. The training facility is designed with the latest features and technology to recruit and develop top level student-athletes.

Papé Field, for University of Oregon womens soccer and lacrosse, seen from center line during game, bleachers reading Go Ducks
Papé Field at University of Oregon in Eugene, OR.

Papé Field is home to the University of Oregon’s women’s soccer and lacrosse programs. Custom graphics and strategic logo and image placement throughout the stadium reinforce the university’s strong brand identity. The design incorporates the latest technology, screens, and SMART boards in the team meeting and locker room spaces, making this one of the most advanced soccer- and lacrosse-specific facilities in the country.

University of Texas Softball Development Facility interior. Softball mural on wall next to screen in front of orange couch
University of Texas Softball Development Facility in Austin, TX.

The University of Texas Softball Development Facility that opened in 2021 is nearly as impressive as the rise of the softball program itself. Rallying from a 1-25 record as a non-athletic department club in 1996 to a Women’s College World Series-qualifying team two years later is one of the biggest turnarounds in the history of women’s college softball. And the team hasn’t looked back. The new facility allows the team to train year-round regardless of weather conditions and prioritizes performance and convenience for student-athletes. The 2022 Longhorn Softball team advanced to the finals of the Women’s College World Series and competes June 8-10 for its first National Championship.

Brown sectional faces screen in common area. Kitchenette in back corner, glass walled office to left. Recessed ceiling detail
David X. Marks Tennis Stadium at University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA.

In terms of national titles, the women’s tennis team is the most successful women’s program at the University of Southern California. While the team – along with the men’s team – have called the David X. Marks Tennis Stadium home since it was constructed in 1971, the facility was in desperate need of upgrades to maintain the program’s championship-caliber performance. In addition to a new lobby that honors the history of USC tennis, significant improvements were made to student-athlete spaces including new locker rooms, lounges, and dedicated training areas.

University of Southern California Heritage Hall interior, Spirit of Troy exhibit. Wood circle hangs around display and statue
Heritage Hall at University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA.

Heritage Hall at the University of Southern California celebrates the trails blazed by former Women of Troy student-athletes, while encouraging future women’s athletic excellence. The two-story main lobby is a hall of fame space with interactive displays where visitors and former, current, and future athletes can gather to celebrate and reflect on the grand achievements of all USC athletics programs. To honor the legacy of women’s programs at USC, branding and graphics throughout Heritage Hall reinforce the championship level of the Women of Troy.

Palmer Park at University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA.

Palmer Park, the first athletics competition site at the University of Virginia to be named after a former female student-athlete, is the direct result of Title IX. Following an expansion at Davenport Field for the National Championship baseball team, a new state of the art stadium was built to serve the Cavaliers’ softball program. It is prominently located on a high-profile site in the heart of the university’s athletic campus and is designed with expansion capability to allow UVA to host a future Women’s College World Series Regional competition.

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