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In part one of our interview with CU Director of Facilities and Game Day operations, Jason Depaepe, we talked about how the fancy benefits for the players, and the tangible benefits for the community. In part two of our sit-down, we look at the benefits for two more groups of people.
For the parents (and the student part of student athletes)
When talking about the academic benefits of the new facilities, I couldn’t put it better than Depaepe himself.
“When you’re 17 you don’t really care how many tutors are available, or how big of a study hall there is, or how many computers are in the computer lab,” he said with a laugh. “If I was 17 I wouldn’t care either.”
But somebody cares.
“Today, recruiting student athletes is more of a family affair than ever. Not only are we trying to provide great facilities for a prospective student athletes but we also need to cater to the wants of that student athletes family/guardian as well,” explained Depaepe. “As you could imagine, parents and guardians also are focused on some of the other things that are of a different mindset from a teenager.”
“They want to see how we are going to help their kids graduate and stay healthy,” he added. “This new facility and some of the upgrades we are doing in Dal Ward really help to showcase how we are able to improve the way we take care of our kids off the field and in the classroom.”
The football coaches will move out of the second floor of Dal Ward, leaving the entire space open for the Herbst Academic Center, allowing for more than double the academic space than is currently available.
“There may be an area where people just need to be able to read, but maybe theres an area where people need to be able to discuss an issue, right now we’re trying to do all of that in the same space,” said Depaepe. “It doesn’t really work well that way. Now you have an area that may have been a coaches office, now thats an area where we can have a tutor in there going one on one with a student. Academics is really excited about this.”
Staying along the lines of time-saving that we talked about in part one, the Academic center will be attached to the champions center with a bridge.
Remember, student athletes.
For the rest of the department.
Football is, and always will be, number one, but this new facility will accommodate much more than just the football team.
Before the renovations, every sport other than Men’s and Women’s basketball, Volleyball, and Lacrosse, were forced to schedule weight room workouts around the football team’s lifting schedule, quite the squeeze for 13 sports as you can imagine.
Now, construction has already been completed on a new weight room in Dal Ward that will house those teams.
Additionally, many of those non-football sports didn’t have a locker room. What was once the football locker room will now be converted into a women’s locker room that accommodates the golf, tennis, skiing, cross-country, track and field, soccer, and cheer/ dance teams.
The former visiting team football locker room will be converted to accommodate mens programs such as skiing, golf, cross-country, track and field, and cheer.
Depaepe, imagined the impacts on some of these already extremely successful programs.
“Our cross-country team is amazing, they are nationally ranked and win national championships regularly, they win Pac-12 championships regularly,” he said. “Right now they recruit out of Balch Field-house, they don’t really have a locker room.
“Think about a sport like that, that’s already so successful,” he continued. “Then give them a new facility, a new indoor track, new locker rooms, a weight room that they only have to share with a couple other sports. They’re so successful with what they don’t have, what will happen when they have all this stuff?
Things can only get better for the entire athletic department.
“We are doing pretty well, the timing is extremely difficult. From what we stated out building, to what we are building today are two totally different things, we added a fifth floor on the champions center, we added a track around the indoor facility, we added a parking garage under the facility… We had plans to go further to the North, and food plain issues came into play, so instead of waiting for the government to change the flood plain, or approve the building, which can take a lot of time, we just moved the building a little bit. A lot of things that have changed, and still there are not a lot of buildings or projects of this size, that have been built this quickly.”
The facilities have a benefit for everybody, even us lowly media types:
“The media room… Psh wayyy too nice for you guys.” – Jason Depaepe
Depaepe on the rooftop bar area:
“I could stand there all day, it just doesn’t get old, man. It’s amazing, the views are ridiculous.”
(All renderings courtesy of CUSustainableExcellence.com)