When the Arkansas football coaching staff takes "ownership" of the state-of-the-art Fred W. Smith Football Center on July 5th, they will have the 80,000 square foot facility to use in recruiting almost immediately.
"Our coaches, when they got done on Tuesday, they boxed up their offices and those will move over into our (new) facility," Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema said. "We come back and have a couple of one-day (high school football) camps on July 19 and 20th. We will start back on office duty on July 18.
"Knowing my coaches, they will be in there quite a bit and I know I will be and we'll just kind of get everything straight," Bielema added. "We will put a huge recruiting effort on. We are kind of going into a silent mode right now with a lot of people on vacation.
"We had some nice momentum and I expect some in July," Bielema added, "and then in the middle of July we will make a big recruiting push again and see where we are at in the fall."
Arkansas is expected to host some top prospects for the aforementioned camps and at least a pair of junior college prospects.
Those prospects include uncommitted defensive tackle Abu Lamin (6-5, 300) of Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College – expected to take an official visit - and UCLA offensive line commit and England native Jermaine Eluemunor (6-5, 315) of Lackawanna (PA) CC.
The new building will house coaches offices, locker rooms, updated training and equipment, a student-athlete lounge and study area, a recruiting reception area and football displays highlighting the tradition of the Razorback program.
"We are building a new facility here at Arkansas that is off the charts," Bielema said. "That is just going to open so many doors in recruiting."
All team areas will now be attached to the Arkansas weight room and the indoor and outdoor practice fields.
"I believe in player development," Bielema said when first hired. "If a player comes in good in year one, you want him great by year four. … That facility is going to allow us to do those things."
Arkansas' football team will no longer have to dress in two separate locker rooms and suffer with inadequate training and equipment rooms.
The locker room space will grow from 4,200 square feet to over 9,000.
It will include large custom built lockers with individual outlets so athletes can charge their phones, IPads, computers, etc.
Attached to the locker room will be a 3,000 square foot player's lounge, which will be adjacent to a study area.
The training room square footage will go from 2,100 to over 8,500 square feet.
It will include a 2,300 square feet hydrotherapy area, which will consist of a lap pool, a hydrotherapy pool, a hot tub, cold and hot plunges and two whirlpools.
The current equipment room has been a woefully inadequate 1,700 square feet main area while there are several other small areas in the Broyles Center where equipment is stored.
The new equipment room will be over 6,000 square feet.
The building is named after Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Board Chairman Fred W. Smith, a long-time benefactor for the Razorback athletic program.
He recently made a $1.25 million donation for this project and an additional $250,000 gift for the proposed Student-Athlete Success Center, one of the proposed improvements in the school's Master Facilities Plan.
The Student-Athlete Success center will house academic support facilities, including group and individual tutorial rooms, study hall areas, a large auditorium, computer labs, multi-media, career planning, service learning and community service areas. The center will also include a dining facility that will provide a training table for all 460 student-athletes competing in 19 sports.
"I am extremely grateful to the Reynolds Foundation and the Smith family for their continued investment in the lives of Razorback student-athletes and the University of Arkansas," Long said. "They have been long time advocates of the Razorbacks, the university and the entire state of Arkansas.
"Their generosity will help us meet our mission of developing student-athletes to their fullest potential through intercollegiate athletics," Long added. "Our student-athlete development program remains a focus of our department and of great importance to me."
An aerial view taken Friday of the Fred W. Smith Center.
A view from the North of the new building.
One of the new lockers still under construction.
What the finished Arkansas locker room should look like.
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