WEST LAFAYETTE — Of course there are bells and whistles.
You spend $65 million for a new football complex, as Purdue is doing with its three-level, 110,000 square foot project, you're going to get plenty of wow with the substance.
Wow includes a lobby that will serve as a museum for Boiler glory past and present, a video theater with theater seating, a mostly glass exterior, a bunch of video screens (the one in the locker room is 16 foot by nine foot), a players lounge that will include ping pong tables and video game setups, and more.
A lot more.
Substance starts with an 18,000 square-foot weight room big enough to accommodate the whole team at the same time (currently the football team shares the Mollenkopf Athletic Center weight room with most of the other sports), new state-of-the-art strength training equipment, a state-of-the-art sports medicine facility that includes hydro-therapy pools, a 120-seat team-meeting room and more equipment space than Purdue has ever had.
Oh, and plenty of food and drink via a “fuel station” so no player should never go hungry or thirsty.
While they're at it, officials also will install a new turf field for the Mollenkopf practice field. The current field is nine years old. Fields are generally replaced after eight years.
The Boilers' latest commitment to football excellence is set to open on Aug 24 and construction is, senior associate athletic director/facilities Steve Simmerman said, right where it needs to be thanks to a mild winter.
“We're on schedule,” he said.
By the time it's finished, nearly 600 workers will have been involved in the 16-month project.
Simmerman said, when it comes to football complexes, “There's nothing else like it.”
Purdue officials initially looked at new facilities at Baylor, Arkansas and Texas A&M for ideas, then later went to Colorado. They also got feedback from Brohm and his staff after their took arrived in December.
Simmerman said he and Brohm had three three-hour meetings to go over plans early on. Brohm requested a few changes — such as going from 110 to 120 new lockers and installing more doors for better access between position rooms.
The goal is to show Purdue is willing to commit to football excellence, with the No. 1 priority getting the Boilers back to the Rose Bowl. They haven't been there since 2000 when Drew Brees was the quarterback and Joe Tiller was the coach.
The new facility has boosted player optimism for the future.
“I haven't been in there yet,” quarterback David Blough said, “but I'd love to sneak around in there.”
He paused with a smile.
“Maybe do it legally.”
A Saturday tour of the facility showed much has been done, with much more to do.
“Everybody is pumped,” Blough said. “We're thrilled. To be able to be in there before the first game (Sept. 2 against Louisville at Indianapolis Lucas Oil Stadium) is great.
“I'm only taking one class to graduate next year — which is what is required, by the way, so it's fine — so I'll be living there.”
Coach Jeff Brohm hopes all the Boilers follow that example. That includes the defense, which surpassed the offense during spring practice thanks to players such as defensive linemen Kai Higgins and Gelen Robinson, linebackers Rob Simmons, Danny Ezechukwu and Ja'Whaun Bentley, and defensive back Da'Wan Hunt.
“I like our defense,” Brohm said. “On our first unit we have a lot of experience. We have productive guys. We have very good players at certain positions that stand out like linebacker, plus a few guys up front and a few guys in the secondary. Even some of the backups stepped up and played well. When all is said and done, our defense will play well.
“I think on offense we'll have to help them out. We need to score some points and keep the ball so they're not on the field all the time.”
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