<strong>LOGAN—</strong> Utah State University held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for it’s new $6.4 million strength and condition center. The new building, which will contain state of the art facilities, will be located on the Northwest corner of Romney Stadium.
The groundbreaking comes on the heels of a busy spring for USU Athletics. In April, Utah State unveiled a new logo and branding program, and that announcement came shortly before the Aggies announced they were accepting an invitation to join the Mountain West Conference in all sports.
The new 21,000 square foot facility – which was funded all by private donations, including a $4.5 million anonymous gift, the largest in the history of USU athletics – will be the largest in the MWC.
“If you think about that in terms of benchmarking against the Mountain West, forget about it, we’re double anybody else,” USU Athletic Director Scott Barnes said. “This project will be benchmarked against some of the best in the nation in both size and quality.”
While the first floor of the facility will be used for mostly mechanical and electrical purposes, Barnes said it would also house a new USU ticket office. He also said it could possibly include an apparel shop.
The second floor of the complex will contain all of the strength and conditioning equipment, and will have an open, state of the art design. It will also include some cutting edge technology, such as an inclined training ramp made out of synthetic turf that will run from the second to the third floor.
The third and final floor of the facility will house a sprint and agility training area, aerobic exercise equipment, and offices. Barnes also said the new building would take full advantage of USU’s new logo – displaying it prominently on the facade.
“Moving into a new conference, is a new facility important? Yeah. Kids love facilities, kids love
gear,” USU head football coach Gary Andersen said. “That is the bottom line when you start talking about recruiting and putting yourself in position to take the next step. It’s a big step walking into the Mountain West … it allows us as coaches to be on the cutting edge.
“I talked to Bobby (Wagner) and Robert (Turbin) the other day, and they both said, ‘Coach, don’t think I’m not coming back and training in the weight room next summer,’ so they’re fired up about it and they feel like they’ve got a little part of them in there.”
Current USU basketball player Preston Medlin was also at the groundbreaking, and talked about his excitement for the new facility.
“When I first arrived at Utah State, I weighed in at 165 pounds. Today, after almost three years of college level weightlifting, I weigh in at a bulked up 185 pounds,” Medlin said. “When most players come out of high school, the biggest difference they notice is how much bigger and stronger everyone else is. The weight room is the place where guys like me catch up. So for all the skinny guys, today is a great day.”
Though the groundbreaking ceremony was Wednesday, construction has already begun on the site. The building is expected to be completed in April 2013.
“If you look at where we were and where we are in just a short period of time, it’s tremendous progress,” USU President Stan Albrecht said. “It wasn’t very long ago that we had coaches that weren’t sure they wanted to bring athletes they were recruiting to campus. They wanted to talk with them at their place rather than our place.
“We’re now in a position where we’re not only competitive with those institutions that we’re playing against on the athletic field, but we’re more than competitive in terms of our athletic facilities. That makes a huge difference in terms of our ability to do what we need to do and compete in the ways that we need to compete.”