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Rutgers Athletics: Where and what do we build? The dream version - Our Final Thoughts

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We've shuffled along long enough with these pieces. Let's go really big. Want the Athlete's Village? Here we go.

Fourth - and final - in a series of dream-scapes for athletic construction: The Athletes' Village

The what?

We kept hearing about Julie Hermann's vision of an athletes' village.  She based it on her work at Louisville, as she described in her interview back in July with Dan Duggan:

"Having been a part of helping Louisville -- $250 million worth of facilities, they're gorgeous, they're palaces – part of what I like is they're all down one road. But then on the other hand, our soccer students go to the soccer complex and football goes to football. If there's any way when we build whatever we get to build, that you're causing the student-athletes to intersect more, to have mutual places where they hang out, I think that's the wave of the next future of building. I don't think it's ever good to isolate student-athletes. They should be part of the general public, and for darn sure, even if the general public is the other 5-600 student-athletes, that helps them prepare for life a little bit.

But why a "village"?  Well, I get it.  This is another part of that interview:

So even in an athletes' village – and by that I don't mean where they sleep, I'm talking about where they function – you hope to have the next NFL Draft pick seeing (women's basketball player) Tyler Scaife and you hope the diver of the meet gets to watch (long jumper) Corey Crawford because when they get to see each other in training spaces and interact, they raise each other's game. You guys have probably been on teams and when I'm on a team and I'm the best player and I think I've got my game right here, but if I look across the table and see you, it's like, 'Man, he's going harder,' I find I have another gear. That's when you're really optimizing opportunities for young people. So we do want to have a concept of an athletes' village, where at least where they function has as many intersecting points as we can create."

I heard Julie speak about when she was coaching at the US Olympic training facility.  The synchronized swimming coach asked her to bring her volleyball players to watch them practice.  After lots of moaning and groaning, the vball team went over to the pool.  And they watched the swimmers go under water.  And stay down....and stay down....and stay down.  Then the swimmers popped out of the water.  And the volleyball players were looking at each other saying,like, "WOW!  That is something!"  Suddenly, there was a greater appreciation for what the other teams were doing, a sense that we can do more.  The athletes' village....Ta Da!

How do we do it at Rutgers?

Well, I'm sure that there are engineers and architects and lots of others with great ideas.  But try this one on for size.  We create two Athletic Campuses, one at Livingston and one at Busch by the stadium.  We build/expand/upgrade facilities at each area to properly accommodate our teams, including competition, practice, training, and office areas.  Make them special, not just a place thrown into an empty lot.

Athletic Campus I: Stadium area

A bunch of stuff is going to happen.  Including a new football only facility....you know, it drives the bus.  Since football will have its own indoor facility, we can replace the bubble with a multi-sport training facility.  It would include a new indoor training and locker facility for men's and women's soccer, men's and women's lacrosse, and could be used by wrestling, gymnastics, and volleyball if they aren't elsewhere.  You would include an indoor turf field for use by all of those field sports.  You could even include a practice facility/rehearsal hall for the marching band. And you build a new golf facility by the nearby golf course.  And swimming is right up the road at the Werblin Center.  Where are we talking?  Here:

Now, in the alternative, you could put everyone over in the new indoor facility, including football.  Then you've really created a village.  Including the bus drivers.

Athletic Campus II: The RAC area

Still with me?  Let's go to he RAC area.  You've got baseball and softball addressed.  And track and field. We even looked at tennis and rowing.  And we looked at the "field" sports and football above.  What's next?

The area is developed with the intent of bringing together track & field/cross country, tennis, baseball, softball, wrestling, and volleyball, with the possibility of bringing gymnastics in as well.  It puts at least nine programs together.  You renovate/expand the RAC to have practice facilities for both volleyball and wrestling.  And maybe gymnastics so they're part of the "village".

And this is what you get:

Whew!  I'm tired.  And it's obvious the Prozac has worn off.  So I'm going to let you ponder this and figure out how to pay for it.  I'm just the idea guy.

As for more for football, we'll look at that in a short while. More ideas to come!