Floor-by-floor tour: WSU Football Ops Bldg.

JOHN JOHNSON WAS in the midst of a long, detailed description of Washington State's football operations building when he casually mentioned, "It'll be pretty nice." Well, yes. Much like Texas is pretty big, the Mariners are pretty bad and Iraq is pretty messed up.

Johnson, the associate athletic director who oversees construction projects involving Cougars athletics, is so excited about the football ops building that he would be bouncing off the walls if they were all standing right now.

Five stories, 84,000 square feet and $61 million of work is well under way at the west end of Martin Stadium. Construction is expected to be completed by next summer.

On Tuesday, Johnson proudly provided a floor-by-floor tour – in his mind, anyway – of the first football operations building ever constructed at WSU.

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THE FIRST FLOOR features – in every sense of the latter term -- the locker room.

"It's going to be a country-club-looking place … with branding all over the place," Johnson said. "A state-of-the-art locker room. It'll just be a gorgeous place."

Some details are still being finalized, Johnson said, but the locker room will include "lounge furniture," a cold plunge tub and "five or six televisions."

Also on the first floor – the only floor without views of Martin Stadium and the Rogers Field practice area, since it is below Rogers Field – will be rooms for equipment, storage, laundry, interviews and studying.

THE SECOND FLOOR of the brick building – "Designed to fit into the campus" – includes an 11,000-square-foot weight room, a nutrition bar ("A re-fueling station for our athletes") and offices for the strength and conditioning coaches.

THE THIRD FLOOR, open to the public, is dedicated to the history of WSU football. Photos, trophies and other memorabilia will be on display, and a walkway connects the student union building (the Cub) with the north campus.

THE FOURTH FLOOR will feature meeting rooms, including a 160-seat auditorium, and various audio-visual devices will be set up on the floor -- it also includes a dining area for all WSU athletes. That area will be used to welcome former lettermen in all sports on football game days.

THE FIFTH FLOOR will house the coaches offices. There also will be a conference room, offensive and defensive staff rooms, football operations staff offices and an office for the football sports information director.

THE FOOTBALL OPERATIONS BUILDING is being funded with $46 million in bonds and $15 million left over (by design) from the $80 million requested as part of the Martin Stadium upgrades that were completed last year.

Naming rights are being sold for various parts of the building and the building as a whole.

Johnson said the next athletics department facilities upgrade of note is a heated, six-stalls golf hitting area that is due to be completed this fall. Large doors will open to enable WSU golfers to practice in inclement weather while hitting balls on to the driving range at Palouse Ridge.

Preliminary funding and design plans are under way to build a baseball clubhouse at Bailey-Brayton Field. A projected completion date is not set, Johnson said.

Johnson also said the Cougars hope to resurface the soccer field and install lights by 2014.


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