Or, to put it another way, if you build it efficiently, you hope they will come.
A conservative count shows at least 17 of the 65 Power Five programs have opened or renovated football-only complexes since 2013. The combined cost: more than $800 million. Add in at least seven other projects that are in the works, and the total hits $1.2 billion…
… Considering coach Dan Mullen’s goal is to develop talent better than anyone else in the country, wasting 10 minutes that other programs are maximizing is a problem. That’s why the Gators toured facilities at Kentucky and Clemson and hope to study the flow of corporate offices like Google to get ideas for their new complex.
“I want guys efficiently moving around the building,” said Mullen, who helped plan the Mississippi State complex that opened in 2013. “I don’t want a line walking out of the team meeting room. I want to efficiently get in and out fast.”
Which means even a detail like where you enter a room is important.
To figure out where to put a single door at a position room in UF’s proposed 130,000-square-foot facility, the architecture firm HOK will find out the minutiae of the Gators’ schedule. Where is that position coach coming from? Where is he going next? If the coach needs to exit the meeting first but can’t get to the door before his players do, then the design team failed.
“It’s just like NASCAR,” said Nate Appleman, HOK’s director of sports, recreation and engagement. “We’re talking about shaving a few seconds, 30 seconds, a minute with each of these little moves. But over the course of a day and over the course of a year, it all adds up.”
And what has it all added up to at Kentucky? For Conrad, it’s an hour a day.
“At least,” Conrad said.
As important as that efficiency is, only part of this facility boom centers on maximizing players’ time.
The bigger part is getting them on campus in the first place.
All of this makes Vanderbilt’s “screw it, we’ll cash those SEC checks and spend any way we like” approach seem almost refreshing.