When it comes to state-of-the- art facilities, look no further than Autzen Stadium.
Not only have the Ducks outdone themselves once again on the field, but they have taken something so basic as facilities and turned them into their own as they have with many aspects of the football program, from the no-huddle offense to their unique attire. Oregon may already look fashionable on the field, but its facilities have only recently begun to match the team.
So how much did these new facilities cost?
With the generous help of Nike co-founder and Oregon alum Phil Knight, the total cost for the facilities ended up being $68 million. In addition to renovations at Autzen Stadium, the remainder of the total cost will go toward improvements at the Moshofsky and Casanova centers, making for a complete overhaul in virtually every facility.
Headlining the renovations will be the gigantic 25,000-square-foot weight room, which will include maple locker rooms pricing in at roughly $30,000 a pop. In this locker room, there will be 55-inch flat screen televisions and leather easy chairs for every athlete as well as iPod charging docks in every locker. Connecting everything will be a double-decker sky bridge.
There will also be two movie theaters and nine separate classrooms for the coaches to use at their disposal. Putting the finishing touches on the facilities will be a three-foot thick basalt wall featuring a 12-foot rendition of The Duck mascot with Phil and Penny Knight reflected in its pupils.
So what does this all mean?
Believe it or not, there is an underlying reason for paying so much for new facilities and it doesn’t have to do with merely looking good. Knight’s overall plan is to make Oregon into a college football powerhouse. After appearing in four consecutive BCS bowl appearances, avoiding heavy NCAA sanctions and likely receiving a top five preseason ranking, Knight feels like the program deserved something a little better than what they already had.
With what looks to be a mainly black-themed project — if you haven’t already seen pictures — the new buildings come off slightly intimidating and that appears to be the point. Knight wants Oregon football to not only play the best, but look the best. The saying, “Look good, play good” has never been so relevant. The goal with the impressive remodel is to keep top tier recruits signing with Oregon.
In a recent interview with the Register-Guard, Brian Libby, an architecture blogger, had this to say about the renovations: “Recruits will see the ambition that building communicates. This is a complex that aspires to demonstrate that Oregon is at the top of the top when it comes to football programs and their facilities.”
Though the buildings will not be in place until the 2013 football season, the message that Oregon football is becoming a powerhouse has been sent. Winning a national championship is the lone goal of this program and though new facilities are always appreciated, it will merely be no more than a reminder to the program to keep focus on their goals. “Win the Day” was and still is the motto of Oregon football and no facility will be enough to change that.