WHAC upgrades in works

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Last updated: 05/17/2014 2:58 AM
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Football
Upgrades at WHAC under Way
By John Porentas
Photos by Dan Harker

In 2005 the OSU department of Athletics spent 20 million dollars to upgrade the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. This summer an additional 3 million is being spent on further upgrades.

This iteration of upgrades kind of takes up where the last one left off. The building on Olentangy River Road was essentially gutted and rebuilt in 2005 with one exception. The team locker room and shower area was not rebuilt, but rather was refurbished with new lockers and decor. The actual physical area however was left just as it was. That is now changing.

Don Patko
Photo by Dan Harker
Don Patko

"What we did in the locker room back then was we replaced the lockers, put new ceiling in and made it look nice. What we're doing with this renovation is really renovating it and opening the locker room up," said Associate Athletic Director for facilities Don Patko.

"We've taken out walls, we've moved showers, we've done a lot of things that really is going to open up our locker room for our team."

There were several motivations for the renovation. One of them was improved player comfort and improved efficiency for players and coaches alike

"We wanted to incorporate a little bit of a lounge in there. We wanted a more open feel. It's nicer for a coach to talk to the team in a larger space. This will give you a more wide open feel," said Patko.

"We're also adding a lot of different things inside of lockers. Lockers today with technology the way it is and iPads and everybody has to have all their communication devices, we have docking stations in each locker.

Artist's rendering of the new locker room.
Photo by Dan Harker
Locker Room Rendering

"There will be outlets for the iPads, outlets for the phones, charging apparatuses for the phones, it will be the state of the art technology in this locker room."

Function is a focus, but so is the reality of the facilities battle in the recruiting wars. The upgrade is definitely a step toward maintaining an edge in that area as well.

"You have to pay attention to it," said Patko of the competition for impressive facilities.

:When you're looking at designs and looking at renovations you have to pay attention to what everybody is doing so you have the features in your locker room that are important to today.

"It relates to technology, it relates to how many gaming stations you might have in there, how many big-screen TVs, the sound systems in locker rooms are very important.

"These are all the elements you have to pay attention to and see what other schools and other facilities are doing."

One thing that OSU is doing that isn't going to be found a whole lot of other places is the inclusion of a 16 x 9 water wall that will add both form and function.

"This water wall will separate the wet area from the locker room in general," Patko said.

"The water wall will have a function where you can light lights up to it and put red lights up on the water wall and you'll see water coming down both sides of this water wall. You'll be able to see it from the wet area and from the locker room."

Artist's rendering showing the nutrition bar with the water wall in the background.
Photo by Dan Harker

The WHAC upgrades also include a new field for the indoor practice facility as a new outdoor field that will be an exact replica of the field in Ohio Stadium. It also includes new lighting for the indoor facility. Cost of the lighting is about $250,000, with about $170,000 being for the cost of the lights themselves and another $80,000 in electrician fees for installation.

The target date for completion of the project is July 25. Until then, the football team is using makeshift facilities located in the west (non-football) Biggs wing of the building.

New Outdoor field
The new outdoor field is in the exact color scheme of the field that will be in Ohio Stadium.
Photo by Dan Harker
New Locker Room
The new locker room area is beginning to take shape.
Photo by Dan Harker
Indoor field
The indoor field at the WHAC has been stripped and is awaiting installation of new turf.
Photo by Dan Harker
Turf on hand
Rolls of turf are ready to be installed on the indoor practice field.
Photo by Dan Harker
A small portion of the turf in the west end zone is all that currently remains of the old turf.
Photo by Dan Harker

 

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