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Utah State Athletics held a ground breaking ceremony Wednesday for its new strength and conditioning center, which will be located on the northwest corner of Romney Stadium.
The ceremonial shovel turning featured President Stan L. Albrecht, Director of Athletics Scott Barnes, head football coach Gary Andersen and current student-athletes McKade Brady (football), Pua Furtado (women's basketball), Preston Medlin (men's basketball) and Josselyn White (volleyball).
The $6.4 million, 21,000 square-foot strength and conditioning center will feature areas for weight training, cardiovascular workouts and speed and agility training, as well as offices for staff. Built on existing university property, the state-of-the-art multi-level facility will alleviate overcrowding in the existing 5,800 square-foot strength and conditioning center and will accommodate almost 400 athletes from 16 sports programs.
The facility, which was made possible due to the largest single gift in the history of Aggie Athletics from an anonymous donor, is expected to be completed in April of 2013, just in time for USU's official move to the Mountain West Conference on July 1, 2013.
When the building opens next spring it will be the largest such facility in the Mountain West and rival any strength and conditioning complex in the country. Of the schools Utah State will be competing against in the MW, Fresno State currently has the largest strength and conditioning center at 12,500 square feet, followed by Air Force (12,000 sq. ft.), Wyoming (11,100 sq. ft.), Hawai`i (10,000 sq. ft.), New Mexico (10,000 sq. ft.), Colorado State (10,000 sq. ft.), San Jose State (10,000 sq. ft.), UNLV (8,200 sq. ft.) and Nevada (8,000 sq. ft.).
"The location, programming aspects and amenities of the new strength and conditioning center will serve as a huge recruiting opportunity for all sports," Barnes said.
All funding for the new strength and conditioning center will come from private donations. The location of the facility is expected to help the athletic department to capitalize on potential new merchandise sales and customer service opportunities.
This project is the latest in a series of recent athletic facility improvements at Utah State. In 2008, the University completed construction on the 69,000 square foot Jim & Carol Laub Athletics-Academics Complex. In 2009, USU opened the Steve Mothersell Athletics Hall of Honor, as well as its new off-court basketball facilities, which include the Nate and Heather Wickizer men's basketball and MerLynn Pitcher women's basketball locker rooms. In 2010, USU opened the Dr. Randall and Julianne Stockham Student-Athlete Academic Hall of Honor, and in 2011, a new synthetic turf was installed in the Stan Laub Indoor Training Center.
For more information on the new strength and conditioning center or to pledge a gift, contact the Utah State Athletics Department at (435) 797-1850.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.