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Strange Bedfellows: Aquatics and College Football

With the NCAA official early signing day for college football prospects fast approaching, you may be wondering what college football programs are doing to set themselves apart from other schools. What you might not know is that programs are doing just that by adding aquatic facilities to their already high-class training facilities. Prospective student athletes can sign their letters of intent on Wednesday, December 19th and while these athletes are not only looking for schools and coaches that will help further their athletic dreams of playing in the NFL, they are also taking note of top rate facilities that will help them recover faster and train harder to make those dreams a reality. Counsilman-Hunsaker has helped many of these facilities come to fruition by designing aquatic therapy elements that add to the programs ever expanding training facilities. Trends in the aquatic therapy market for facilities of this nature include items like cold plunge pools, hot plunge pools, hot and cold spas with hydrotherapy benches and jets, resistance water training, and underwater treadmills that will help student athletes recover between practices and after games. Not only do their serve their function in aiding athletes in recovery but are also playing a huge role in the recruiting game. Trends such as adding graphics to the pool areas and adding wow factors such as waterfalls enhance the experience of the current and prospective student-athlete. Let’s dive deeper in the facilities Counsilman-Hunsaker has been a part of and let us know if you see your favorite school on the list!

 

University of Alabama

 At the University of Alabama, the accomplished football program and championships speak for themselves. In August 2013, the Alabama Crimson Tide’s $9 million renovation of the Mal Moore Football Building was completed.  Integrated within the new locker room are two new hydrotherapy spas used by players before and after football practice or games.  Other upgrades include a team meeting room seating 212, position meeting rooms and a player’s lounge. The hydrotherapy spas include one cold spa and one hot spa, with the hot spa having the capability to be converted into a second cold spa. The hot spa includes four waterfalls, underwater lights, and can accommodate up to 27 players. The cold spa includes underwater lights and can accommodate 27 players. The hot spa operates at temperatures from 102 to 106 degrees while the cold spa operates from 60 to 65 degrees. You can catch the #1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide take on Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on Saturday, December 29th!

 

Clemson University

 Clemson University officially opened its new $55 million football operations center in February 2017.  The 145,000 ft² complex is the largest and most programmatically inclusive football-specific training facility in the nation. The state-of-the-art building connects the indoor practice facility and outdoor practice fields, consolidating football operations into one complex. Designed to support the day-to-day activities of players, coaches and staff, the new Allen N. Reeves Football Operations Complex further elevates the Tigers’ football program, and promotes the recruitment, training and development of student-athletes. Functioning as a home away from home for many of the athletes, the complex offers amenities that allow the student-athletes to train, study and unwind in one place. Features include outdoor leisure and entertainment space, state-of-the-art hydrotherapy, steam and recovery room, and a Gatorade fuel bar. The aquatic amenities include a stunning six bodies of water including a therapy pool with ramp and stair entry, Hydroworx 3500 pool with underwater surveillance system, a Hydroworx 1200 pool with a movable floor, a Hydroworx thermal plunge pool, a Hydroworx polar plunge pool and a cold spa that includes two hydrotherapy bench areas and underwater bench area located in the locker room. You can catch the #2 ranked Clemson Tigers take on Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday December 29th!

 

Georgia Tech

 The Georgia Tech football facility is the oldest in Division I and was host to its first collegiate games before World War I.  In 2018, the newly-renovated, 8,100 ft² football team locker room, located at Bobby Dodd Stadium at historic Grant Field, looked to honor the past history of the program with an eye to the future.  The new locker rooms include a large focal feature on the ceiling for the team to gather around, 116 ventilated lockers each with a 15 -inch digital video screen that can be used as a nameplate or to display highlights, sleek interior finishes, adjustable lighting, upgraded mechanical systems, as well as new sinks, toilets, and showers. The trademark GT hexagonal pattern is expressed throughout the design tying the lockers, ceiling feature, graphics, and even the tile accenting around the spas into a cohesive and consistent branding element. The cold spa, capable of holding 18 people will be utilized primarily during post-workout recovery and includes an underwater bench. The hot spa, capable of accommodating 11 people, provides bench seating around the full perimeter with hydrotherapy jets. You can catch the Georgia Tech Ramblin’ Wreck take on Minnesota in the Quick Lane Bowl on Wednesday December 26th!

 

University of Iowa

 In the fall of 2014, the University of Iowa celebrated the grand opening of the new Richard O. Jacobson Football Operations Building.  Because of his continued support for the Hawkeyes and generous donations of millions of dollars to numerous university programs, the facility was dedicated to Mr. Jacobson. The new 76,000 ft² football practice facility will help guarantee an exceptional experience for the student-athletes who participate in Iowa’s football program. One of the main attractions is the aquatic area featuring a two lane, 25-yard therapy pool and two hydrotherapy spas designed to help soothe the muscles of players before and after football practice or games. Aquatic amenities include a 550 therapy pool with stair entry and varying depths of 3’-6”, 4’-10”, and 6’-4, a hot plunge hydrotherapy spa with underwater bench and hydrotherapy jets, and a cold plunge hydrotherapy spa with hydrotherapy jets. The therapy pool includes an underwater treadmill to aid in athletic rehabilitation. You can catch the Iowa Hawkeyes take on Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl on Tuesday, January 1st!

If you didn’t see your favorite team on the list don’t worry. Counsilman-Hunsaker has been a part of designing facilities for the University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Maryland, Penn State University, West Virginia University, Northwestern University and University of South Carolina. If you want more information on these facilities head to our website or get in touch with one of our many aquatic designers to discuss adding a new aquatic facility to your university!

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