Oh, to be friends with Phil Knight. The University of Oregon athletics department milks that relationship for all its worth. And that worth equates to millions in new facilities.
With a shiny new Matthew Knight Arena—now the home of the basketball programs—already sixth months old and the Jaqua Academic Center and its striking architecture roughly triple that age, it is again time to start building in Eugene. So, without further delay, work starts this summer on an expansion of the Len Casanova Center, originally built in 1991, and new facilities for soccer and lacrosse.
The hub of the design encompasses football operations (were you expecting something different here?). The project includes 130,000-square-feet of administrative space, meeting rooms, training and medical treatment facilities and locker rooms.
And it is all thanks to the chairman of Nike, who will foot the entire bill as he does with most construction projects on the Oregon campus. Of course, Rob Mullens, Oregon’s athletic director, knows that fully. “The University of Oregon and UO Athletics are so fortunate to benefit from the continued generosity and vision of Phil and Penny Knight,” he says.
According to the athletic department, the expansion will wrap around the north and west sides of the existing center, featuring a new 25,000-square-foot weight room perched on the edge of three practice fields—an enhanced grass football practice field and two synthetic turf practice fields.
Expect the six-story project designed by Portland’s ZGF Architects to create a grand entrance, highlighting the history of Oregon athletics. Built to exceed Oregon State Energy Efficiency Design standards, the textured and layered tinted glass, complemented with triple-paned, ceramic-fitted insulating glass, aims for energy conservation.
Deep inside the black metal and glass facility sits the centralized football operations, complete with football position meeting rooms, two team video theaters, strategy rooms and conference suites. Along with more offices and locker facilities, expect a players’ lounge, a recruiting center and media space. The expansion will tie to the Casanova Center and the Moshofsky Center with an open courtyard.
Hoffman Construction, who also built the Jaqua Center and Matthew Knight Arena, expects the new structure to open in 2013.
Along with the administrative expansion, Oregon plans a new “championship-caliber” stadium complex for the school’s women’s soccer and lacrosse programs, designed by the DLR Group. The structure will have offices, locker rooms and meeting rooms, along with ticketing, concessions and restroom areas that can be opened during football gamedays and for other events, as needed.
With Knight’s track record at Oregon, the Casanova expansion will again feature bold architecture and over-the-top style. A good friend, indeed.