Progress Report: Vandal Strength and Speed Center

Editor's Note: On Saturday, February 7, Larry Johnson traveled to a foggy and cold Idaho campus to contribute this story on the progress of the new strength and speed center including some new photographs of the soon-to-be-completed building.

The new strength and speed center is nearing completion and the current outcome is impressive and certainly long overdue. The structure is open, with glass walls on three sides, and completely changes the appearance of the east end of the Kibbie Dome/East End Addition. Upon seeing the new addition to the current athletic buildings and looking at the Vandal Athletic Center (VAC) elevation drawing, which hangs in the stairway to the east end addition, I immediately could visualize a completed athletic center.


Larry Johnson / VV.com
I cannot recall a major structure for Vandal Athletics since the construction of the roof (to make the football stadium the Kibbie Dome) in the summer and fall of 1975 or the East End Addition in 1982. The height and overall appearance of this addition changes the look and style of the current building (East End Addition) from the prison-like look to an actual athletic venue. If the rest of the planned improvement work is completed, then the appearance of the building will be greatly improved. Future improvements to the current building, such as the planned brick façade, will result in a building that fits the style and architecture of the campus.

Larry Johnson / VV.com
The spring thaw and the much-needed new practice fields of artificial turf will not only enhance the appearance of the building, but will enhance the view for the students as well. As I walked across the mezzanine I could imagine a view of the campus with the memorial gym and the evergreen new practice fields. From the outside the golden I-Vandals logo was tall and impressive. Tom McGann also mentioned that this logo would be quite visible when spotlighted each evening. Further proof of a good design is the electric blinds that will control the morning sunlight, as they extend over the upper windows.


Larry Johnson / VV.com
The interior is light and the windows create an atmosphere of spaciousness with abundant outside light. I took these pictures on a foggy day with visibility of about 100 feet and yet the outside light was so strong that a flash was completely out of the question. There was an abundance of electrical outlets, lighting (both direct and indirect), windows, and space, lots of space. The black and gold carpet was completely fitting with the proper Vandal colors. The air conditioning equipment appeared to be adequate and properly designed for an athletic training or indoor gym area. A new HydroWorx hydrotherapy pool will be located in a separate room on the mezzanine level near the upper entrance, which connects to the second floor of the existing building. Two needed offices, which are for the conditioning coaches, are directly below the mezzanine and they contain windows that view the entire weight training area.


Larry Johnson / VV.com
This construction project also brings a new entrance to the building that features two floors of glass, but a completely new entrance with a much-improved stairway. Modern oak reception desks compliment the overall clean, bright, open-air nature of the building. The new entrance includes a brick walkway, with an I-Vandal logo of gold tinted brick, which appears fitting for a Vandal Athletic Center. The old stairwell will be converted to needed office space as part of the overall project.

The critical path to completion and weight training is the rubber-like flooring material, which is ordered and produced in one continuous manufacturing batch to achieve color integrity. As soon as the new floor is installed the weights and equipment, which are currently in storage, will be set up and ready for strength and speed training of all Vandal athletes.

This project allows the rest of the planned work to continue with a real football locker room, trainer areas, and a team meeting room. As I walked through the present locker room I could see why some refer to this area as a hallway-like arrangement. It looked like the hallway of a high school with metal lockers and a small bathroom across the hall. The new locker room will contain real lockers, which will be much wider, to accommodate football equipment, than the recently installed men's basketball lockers.

Comparing the new weight room to the old room is way beyond the difference between a route and a blowout. Looking at the old room (see photo below) one can easily see that available space is quite small and the amount of equipment is less than the number of machines at an average health club. I also learned that the old setup did not have air conditioning. I immediately noticed the benefits of removing the ceiling tiles from the old room to improve the capability of that room. To put it best the Vandals shall go from a room with some weights to a real strength and conditioning center.


Larry Johnson / VV.com

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