Leave it to the University of Oregon to wow with facilities. The Eugene-based university unveiled the new Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center, a combination of sports science, medicine and technology built into the ground floor of the Casanova Center, creating an entirely new way for athletes to experience life as a Duck.
“The goal of this project was to create one space where we could utilize the most state-of-the-art technology to improve student-athlete wellness and emphasize our commitment to the health and safety of our student-athletes,” says Rob Mullens, Oregon athletic director, in a statement.
And like so much of the Oregon campus, Phil and Penny Knight—of Nike fame—funded the project.
Entering from the west, visitors walk through a trophy lobby highlighted by a tribute to the center’s namesake. A transparent LED flat screen shows highlights of Mariota and then reveals a shadowbox with memorabilia from his native Hawaii. The entrance leads to a new skylight that kicks off the most tech-heavy portions of the 30,000-sq-ft renovation.
The sports science unit includes recovery, physiology and movement.
“The facility is up there with the best in the world and will help us support our teams with better preparation and recovery for our student-athletes,” says Andrew Murray, Oregon’s director of performance and sport science.
The recovery portion includes a gray Mondo floor inlayed with Oregon’s feather pattern, while a physiology area includes a boxing ring with overhead lighting in the shape of a glowing yellow “O” (no boxing, just exercise is allowed in the ring), speed bags, punch bags, exercise bikes, antigravity treadmills and more. The movement area includes 16 motion-capture cameras mounted in a square around the 19-foot ceiling and a 40-yard running track with its own set of cameras and force plates.
The recovery portion also includes a “warmly lit room with five sleep pods.”
As part of the project, the Ducks also rebuilt an equipment room. A new helmet wall is now dubbed the Armory, able to display the numerous helmets worn by the football team. The Armory wall also opens to reveal shelving that has room to store several hundred helmets and facemasks. Inside the equipment room, the team has a construction workshop with pneumatic drills for fixing and changing helmets
The 2.5 miles of shelving slide on a system of rails and a lift system helps load laundry baskets and trunks packed for road football games.
The equipment room includes a display area featuring shoes, gloves and uniforms and the Haberdashery allows athletes to check out the latest gear. “Our hope was to recreate a Niketown-like atmosphere, with bright lighting and a lot of energy to showcase all of the unique features of our uniforms and other equipment,” says Aaron Wasson, director of equipment operations.
It seems every aspect of the new Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center has that sense of energy.
Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.