We have been hearing about this massive facility for well over a year now, you know about the Indoor Practice Facility, you know about the gigantic weight room, you know about the Champions Center, but with a facility this big, there had to be some features you haven't heard about.
We sat down with University of Colorado Director of Facilities and Game Day Operations, Jason Depaepe, to find out about those little easter eggs.
For the Players
In the end it’s all about the players (current and future) right? The locker room and players lounge will be full of stuff to keep the guys happy.
“When you go into the players lounge in right next to the locker room there’s going to be a nutrition bar with a gatorade machine and water and all that good stuff,” said Depaepe. “There will be a table in there with outlets on it so they can pull up their computer in there if they want. There’s a pool table, a couple video game systems. There will be a total of 7 big TV’s in that space, half of them will probably have SportsCenter going.”
[caption id="attachment_11201" align="alignnone" width="399"] Players lounge (click to enlarge)[/caption]
The lounge will also feature a barber chair, with, of course, cool CU branding on it. The team will regularly bring in a barber for the players to get haircuts priced similarly to a place like Great Clips, and the players will have access to use it themselves with their own barber tools.
“Adjacent to [the players lounge] there’s an actual mini-theater with really nice theater style seats with the logo on there, and a big TV,” Depaepe told. “We’re going to keep that room on the darker side… A lot of times, instead of going home guys will just want to crash in there and take a nap for a couple hours. That place will be a hot commodity, seniors will definitely be trying to pull seniority in there.”
The lockers, shown below, will be pretty cool too.
[caption id="attachment_11203" align="alignnone" width="239"] Locker model (click to enlarge)[/caption]
“In everybody’s locker there will be power and data,” he said. “You can plug in your iPhone, and the playbook is an iPad now so they don't have any excuse for their iPad being dead or anything like that… The lockers are enormous.”
[caption id="attachment_11259" align="alignnone" width="451"] Locker room (click to enlarge)[/caption]
And not all the features are just for show.
“We are installing 2 – 50ft long, 4ft deep recovery pools for our student athletes to walk through post practice,” explained Depaepe. “One will be cold, and the other hot that they walk through in succession to begin the recovery process for their bodies after a workout.
“These guys will leave the football field, with their pads on and everything,” he continued. “They will head right there, before they even go to the locker room.”
[caption id="attachment_11206" align="alignnone" width="452"] Hydrotherapy pools (click to enlarge)[/caption]
One big focus of Depaepe and his staff has been time efficiency.
“Another feature of the new facility that is often overlooked is that we will be more efficient with our student athletes time,” he mentioned. “Being a student athlete requires a lot of time. Moving our staff into the new facility and out of the gates scattered around the stadium will help reduce the amount of time spent by our students going from place to place.
“Meeting with a coach or academic advisor or nutritionist or counselor currently all happen in different places throughout the stadium and Dal Ward depending on the sport,” he added. “Having all of these different components in close proximity of each other will benefit our student athletes tremendously.”
While it may seem like not a big deal for a player to walk to a couple different gates in the stadium, the “point man” as SID David Plati calls him, makes a good point.
“Even if we can save our kids a half-hour a day, 6 days a week, that adds up over a month, over a semester, over a career,” Depaepe said.
For the community
One thing that Jason Depaepe mentioned over and over again during our conversation was that they were trying to create something that everybody can be proud of, players, students, alums, fans, and even Boulder residents, and it seems they have done a lot to make that happen.
[caption id="attachment_11214" align="alignnone" width="451"] View of the facility and the city (click to enlarge)[/caption]
“The comparison is always Oregon. Like ‘What’s Oregon got? They’ve got italian leather and all this stuff,’” he said. “I think that from the get-go, Rick George made it really clear that this is a Colorado facility. We’re not trying to be somebody else. We’re not trying to focus on something from Italy, or Switzerland, or whatever, we’re trying to focus on Colorado and what that means.”
“We want to build a facility that looks like it’s been here and it’s a part of campus and a part of our stadium,” continued Depaepe. “We want finishes that are consistent with what you would see in a building, or a resort in Colorado. Staying true to who we are is kind of the focus.”
So what is something that could make this facility uniquely Boulder? Efficient energy.
The indoor practice facility is partnering with SunPower to install a 55,000 square foot solar panel array that will generate 850kW of electricity. Almost half of the roof will be covered with solar panels allowing it to be a net-zero electricity facility, meaning it creates more energy than it consumes. There will even be a live dashboard that will display how much energy is being produced, and other information about the panels on the roof mounted in the facility.
[caption id="attachment_11207" align="alignnone" width="469"] IPF with solar panels (click to enlarge)[/caption]
As many know, Folsom Field was the first football stadium to make the move to zero waste events, well now this indoor facility will be the first of it’s kind to go net-zero with it’s energy usage.
“We’ve been planning to do it, there have been some variables on how many panels we were going to put up there, but from the beginning we knew we wanted to have a net-zero facility,” said Depaepe. “That’s a huge facility, it’s over 100,000 square feet, think about how many lights we have to put in there just to light it up at night, so we wanted to use efficient lighting, LED lighting, and have enough panels so we have a facility that is not on the grid, which is pretty cool.”
Depaepe believes this will be pleasing to Boulder residents.
“You think people in Boulder want solar panels? [Heck] yeah. “At the end of the day it’s all about what’s best. What’s best for us, what’s best for campus, what’s best for people in Boulder.”
“Solar panels are cool, but how is this facility going to benefit me directly?,” says the naysayer.
“Say you tear your ACL skiing, the second floor of the sports performance center, will be rented out hospital groups that are going to do sports rehabilitation there,” told Depaepe. “This is going to be a state of the art rehab facility.”
The school has a ten year deal in place with local hospitals to use the rehab center for anybody.
“There is going to be an MRI machine, which is great for the doctors because they need it for their practice,” explained Depaepe. “And it’s going to be great for us because, if somebody needs an MRI they’ll just go upstairs instead of us hauling a kid to the hospital.”
Another benefit to the community, and another revenue stream for Colorado Athletics. Rick George and his team have definitely found a way to maximize this new space for their department.
Stay tuned for the rest of our interview with Depaepe later this week.