After his first season at Tech, Head Coach Paul Johnson talked with Athletic Director Dan Radakovich about changes that could be made to aid the Jackets’ football program. Johnson suggested an indoor practice facility in order to avoid inclement weather, and a year later, a $3.5 million gift by John and Mary Brock brought the $9 million project to life.
Since breaking ground in early January, the Brock Indoor Practice Facility was quickly built and is scheduled to finally open when Tech begins practice in August. Upon entering the 88,000 square foot facility from Cherry Street, a viewing area known as the “recruiting platform” overlooks the indoor field. Recruits and their families will be able to watch practices on scheduled visits and get a better look at the team.
“If kids want to come to practice, the parents can hang out. They can set up here and watch and the kids can get down on the field and get as close as they need to. It’s a huge plus in recruiting…I’m certain that most programs our size have indoor facilities. Recruiting is a big part of [the facility’s benefits] as well, but making it easier to function is the biggest thing,” Johnson said.
The indoor field will be entirely artificial turf and approximately 90 yards long with one field goal post on the north side. The field cuts off on the south side of the facility due to space restrictions. Alongside the outdoor field that remains at Rose Bowl Field, there are six hanger-type doors that will open up to allow easy access between the indoor and outdoor fields. While the practices are going on, the doors will stay open so the players can easily enter and exit the building. This will be used to switch practices between the offense and defense at times, or switching between the first and second teams.
“What we wanted out of this was a practice facility, and that’s what I think we got,” Johnson said.
High along the inside wall of the facility is a small area for the football crew to take film of practices, which also connects to a platform outside on the outdoor field’s side for the same purpose. As well as this, remote cameras will be mounted on the north and south walls to film the team from in front and behind.
The facility was designed with sustainability and utility in mind. It will feature a 280,000 gallon cistern that will collect water and will be able to irrigate the track, football and baseball fields in case of a two-week drought.
The facility is on schedule to be finished before spring practice begins on Aug. 1.