Trustees approve sports center expansion

The Board of Trustees approved plans at its most recent meeting last month for a $17 million expansion to the Arrillaga Family Sports Center (AFSC).

This expansion will primarily address the current overcrowding of the football team offices, while also offering benefits to other athletic programs, according to Ray Purpur, deputy athletic director.

Located in Arrillaga Plaza, between the AFSC and Avery Aquatics Center, the new addition to the AFSC will look similar to the existing building and “be adjoining the current space,” Purpur said.

According to Mark Bonino, a University project manager, construction can be expected to begin by mid-2012. He said funding will come from a mix of University and donor funds. Currently, the lead donor on the project is the Arrillaga family.

The 28,500 square foot addition “will support the football program [with more] coach and team space, lockers and showers, training and conditioning space,” Bonino said.

In addition, strength and conditioning and sports performance areas on the lower level of the AFSC will be expanded and made available to all student-athletes, Purpur said.

“The expansion of Arrillaga allows for a much larger footprint in terms of strength and conditioning as well as sports medicine, which are critical components for the success of the athletic program,” said Matt Doyle, director of football operations.

According to Doyle, these expanded sports medicine areas will allow for more space for treatment and include new hot tubs, cold tubs and rehabilitation areas.

However, the planning and design of the new space are still in the works, Bonino said.

“We’re just beginning. We still have some ways to go to get all of the necessary approvals and permits to start construction,” he said.

Purpur said that football is not the only Stanford sport that will use the new space and that all of the athletic programs will have “different degrees of benefit from the new building.”

He noted that currently all teams in the athletic department must share meeting space in the AFSC.

By creating new conference rooms and meeting space exclusively for the football team, football coaches and staff will no longer have to take away film and erase whiteboards after meetings, Purpur said.

According to Bonino, some space in the addition will also be dedicated to the aquatics program.

Karsten Lutz ’15, a member of the men’s crew team, said he is looking forward to the new space.

“Any benefits from improved athletic facilities could trickle down to all the other athletic teams, not just football,” Lutz said.

Kristian Ipsen ’15, a member of the diving team, said he also anticipates benefits from the expansion.

The expansion “has the potential to give smaller teams, like diving, more opportunity to improve and give them the same kind of support that larger teams get,” he said.

The overall growth of the football program has contributed to the current overcrowding, Purpur said. He said that when the football locker rooms were originally built in 1994, there were 85 student athletes on the roster. Currently, the team has grown to a roster of 105 players, the maximum number permitted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

“We now have the smallest locker room in the Pac-12,” Purpur said.

Expanding the locker room to include study and lounge areas for football players will “provide a lot more meeting space for players,” Doyle said.

Doyle said the expanded locker room will also help to “separate the lounging and the studying from the actual smell of shoulder pads, helmets and grass.”

As for the fate of the current football space in the AFSC, Purpur said that the current football offices will be converted into offices for other Stanford sports. He said one long-term goal is for all head coaches to have private offices, with shared offices for all assistant coaches.

The entire football staff was consulted for input on the design of the new space, Purpur said.

For example, an entrance exclusively for the players is one contribution from the football staff, Doyle said.

The expansion will “enhance the operation and change the way we do business in a positive way,” Doyle added.