Football Friday: A Look Inside the New Vanier Football Complex

 
From the football locker rooms to the Strength and Conditioning Center to the new Wabash Landing, K-State Athletics, Mortenson, GE Johnson and Populous truly left nothing out when designing and constructing this world-class building.
 
"It's extremely exciting, and we are very pleased," said Currie with a smile before entering the building for our tour. "It changes so rapidly every day, and the intricacies of the organization by Mortenson, GE Johnson and Populous are truly remarkable."
 
The tour began on the east side of the building as we entered through the Strength and Conditioning Center. A spacious area, the height of the space is more than double the old weight room and features a turf ramp to be used for conditioning and plyometric workouts.
 
"It just gets better every time I walk in the building," said Currie with a laugh before pausing and taking another look around. "The limestone on the columns inside our strength and conditioning center is amazing. This space turned out even better than we expected."
 
The Vanier Football Complex is truly a K-State building; there is no doubt about it. From limestone accents in numerous locations to the purple paint already going up on the walls, it is a structure that would make any Wildcat proud.
 
Following our time in the Strength and Conditioning Center, we headed over to check out the football locker room - another great, functional space just steps away from the Gatorade Fuel Station, the rehab area and sports medicine facilities complete with two HydroWorx underwater treadmills.
 
Right out of the sports medicine area, leading into the field tunnel, there is a special space for an X-ray machine room.
 
"It's located in this space because the visiting team utilizes it in event of an injury, so they will not have too far to transport an individual to do their examining," explained Currie. "They can do it right here."
 
Now in the tunnel, we followed Currie down onto the field. The tunnel is outlined with 16 pillars on the walls - eight on each side - that will soon feature each of Bill Snyder's 16 Goals for Success. The 16 pillars were, personally, one of my favorite features of the building as I can imagine the Wildcats soaking them in while they're lined up in the tunnel ready to rush onto the field before a sold-out crowd of passionate fans... Goosebumps.
 
After the tunnel, we checked out the coaches' locker rooms and went outside to look at the seating in the north stadium expansion. With more space available for the grass-roots fan base (Currie joked, "A lot of people wanted more room for their diaper bags, so we've added that!"), the north end zone seating will bring a more intimidating atmosphere to each and every game day in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. 
 
Back inside, we took a look at the efficient equipment space to be used for all the K-State athletic teams.
 
All this on just the bottom floor!
 
Taking the stairs up a level, Currie gave us our first look at the Wabash Landing.
 
"This space will fit up to 150 fans for our home games and is designed for groups, reunions or families who want to have this entire space and an incredible view of the game," explained Currie before continuing on. (You can click here to check out more information on Wabash Landing.)
 
Back inside, we took a look at the building's main entrance off Kimball Avenue. It was the first time Currie had seen the space without scaffolding, and he was impressed.
 
"There have been a lot of people for more than 40 years that have made gifts to the Vanier Football Complex, and all those names from the previous building, including those from the bricks at the old plaza, will be honored and showcased in the new facility," said Currie as he pointed to the first wall you see when you walk into the complex.
 
When you first walk in through the main doors, you can also see the Academic Learning Center (which will now be called the Student-Athlete Enhancement Center) to your right and down into the Strength and Conditioning Center to your left.
 
"It's all right here; a lot of glass, a lot of room for circulation, a lot of activity and lots of transparency," said Currie as we continued on through the main floor. 
 
After taking a look at the new Student-Athlete Enhancement Center - a space that will be a fantastic learning environment for Wildcat student-athletes - we headed up to the concourse level.
 
The concourse level contains the Big 12 Room with a great view of the stadium, offices and the team theater, a space that will be used for team and department meetings, as well as a student-athlete study hall.
 
Moving up to the top floor of the building, Currie showed us around the football coaches' offices. Each coach has access to a balcony off their office that overlooks the field. With the offensive coaches' wing to the east and the defensive coaches' wing to the west, head coach Bill Snyder's office sits directly in the middle overlooking the field - the best view in the house.
 
Along with the coaches' offices, the fourth floor is filled with rooms and space for football meetings.
 
"A key part of the efficiency of this building is that there is a lot of open space that can be used for gatherings, meetings, recruiting dinners, you name it," said Currie. "We have a lot of space packed into this building, and it's all very usable and efficient." 
 
So, with the tour wrapped up for another day, what is Currie's favorite part of the new Vanier Football Complex?
 
"All of it," he said. "But the team spaces - the strength and conditioning space, the locker room, the sports medicine area - and the fact that it's a K-State building, those are my favorite parts. Everything is designed to be highly functional, even the aesthetic touches are functional."
 
The Vanier Football Complex is expected to be completed in early August, ready for K-State's 2015 home opener against South Dakota on Sept. 5.
 
"It just gets better and better every day," Currie said as we headed out of the building. "Every time I walk through the building, I get more and more excited for what is coming, and we are very appreciative of all K-Staters world-wide, including the Jack Vanier family, for their gracious support of this project."
 

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