Birdwell On Improvements, Indoor Facility

Oklahoma State announced Tuesday the improvements that have already begun and will be ongoing over the summer that will improve the overall football facilities at OSU. In the release head football coach Mike Gundy spoke of their importance and how excited he was to see these improvements taking place. Also, OSU Athletics Director Harry Bridwell spoke with Robert Allen on Sportstalk with Robert Allen and Friends and talked about the impact on Cowboy football.

"What we tried to do was to be sure that this coaching staff that coach Gundy has put together feels good about where it is going and feels that it has what it needs to attract players and change the lives of our current squad is to prioritize what they wanted first and we're squarely in the process of making those improvements happen," explained Birdwell.

The projects, which are already starting to take shape, include two new refurbished practice fields, a new playing surface in Boone Pickens Stadium, a newly equipped strength and conditioning center, and rennovation of the football locker room to include a new shower and drying area. The practice fields are located where the former Hedge Field was. The hedge bushes have been removed and dirt is currently being applied to form the new fields and a drainage system is being added before new sod is laid down.

The stadium surface at Boone Pickens Stadium will be pulled up following the Oklahoma Special Olympics later this month. The field will be stabilized and have the crown removed. Airfield Systems will install a state-of-the-art drainage system. A sand top will be applied that will be conducive to a future natural/synthetic combination playing surface. Desso SLW Sports Systems will top it with their top of the line artificial grass surface.

The locker room is going to have a new shower and drying area added where the little used lounge area was just off the current locker room. It will double the number of shower heads to 48 and double the shower and drying space in the locker room.

The OSU strength and conditioning center has had all of its previous equipment moved out. Some of it has been sold, the remainder is being used on the track as a makeshift weight room. The carpet was pulled out on Tuesday and a new floor is set to be installed. Later all new Power Lift equipment will be moved in including a new cardio workout area complete with televisions.

"Mike felt those projects were priorities over an indoor facility, which might be used 10 times a year," said Birdwell. "All of these other improvements will make it better for our football players on a daily basis."

Birdwell added that the projects are being funded by the generosity of donations totaling $3 million from Boone Pickens and Sherman Smith. Birdwell also added his happiness over the addition of Rob Glass to coordinate the strength and conditioning. While all of his staff left Tuesday for Salt Lake City and the convention for the strength and conditioning coaches, Glass stayed behind to oversee the improvements to the strength and conditioning facility.

"I think everybody at OSU should be absolutely thrilled that within the last 90 days we were able to attract (Glass) back to Stillwater as the assistant director of the department for strength and conditioning," Birdwell said. "I don't think it is any secret -- in fact it is well known -- that Rob Glass is one of the couple of finest strength and conditioning directors in the country. We were able to attract him back home to OSU so that our staff in strength and conditioning is among the finest anywhere, and along with the improvements that are being made for all our student-athletes is that our facility is going to be as good as there is. I just think it's got to be coaching, it's got to be facilities, and it's got to be student-athletes and we are putting those elements in place."

Eventually an indoor workout facility will also be in place, but it was not as critical in the eyes of Gundy. Birdwell explained the delay is allowing the University to plan the project more carefully including location.

"My guess is, the best guess is, somewhere north of Gallagher Iba, but now we've put it in the context of making it part of the longterm master plan in identifying the perfect site, and if the University doesn't currently own it, acquiring it, and coach Gundy and others and I in the athletic department have had some discussions that the design that was contemplated by coach Miles is precisely what he wants," said Birdwell of the future project. "I guess my view is we probably have delayed the indoor facility six months or a year. I think when we go it will be exactly where we want it and exactly what is consistent with the philosophy of our coaches."

OSU will have new fields, new weights and a new shower. You have to agree those are all necessities.

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