Taking Football Support to the Next Level
Home to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Rebels, the Fertitta Football Complex is a state-of-the-art facility that embraces all aspects of student-athlete life to help prepare them for success on and off the field. The facility includes an academic center, team dining hall with full kitchen, nutrition bar, sports medicine center, hydrotherapy, team auditorium, position meeting rooms, team lounge and barbershop. The heart of the complex is a 9,000-square-foot weightlifting area, which includes a modern locker room and coaches' offices with balconies overlooking the practice field.
Football facilities are now an integral part of recruitment for sought-after high school athletes. UNLV wanted to take its football program to the next level from both a training and academic perspective by updating its training center with advanced equipment and flooring. The coaching staff and trainers were seeking a holistic approach to their program while bringing together athletes as a cohesive team. Finally, they wanted the new facility to capture the excitement and energy that flows from the nearby Las Vegas strip.
UNLV staff sought the "the best of the best" for its training center, teaming up with design firm Perkins and Will to specify the surfacing and equipment, along with Advanced Exercise's support.
Three Ecore surfaces were selected—Monster, TurfX and Bounce2—featuring a proprietary technology that fusion bonds vulcanized composition rubber (VCR) to virtually any flooring surface and captures energy so flooring surfaces can absorb force while returning usable energy back to the body.
With team unity as a major focus of the football program, designers for the Fertitta Football Complex envisioned a weight room that integrated weight training with field work. This meant installing a strip of turf in the middle of the training center with lifting racks and platforms on either side.
The Monster Roll system was selected to cover the weightlifting areas. Designed to outperform the heaviest lifter, this surface features a dense, dual durometer rubber surface field united to an underlayment. The components of this system perform together to drastically reduce the transmission of heavy impacts in both body and sound vibrations associated with strength training. The lifting area included three different color accents that matched the UNLV logo. Monster Roll was also installed on the weightlifting platforms. This durable composition rubber fitness flooring is highly shock absorbent and easy to maintain.
Nearly 1,500 square feet of TurfX runs through the center of the weight training area. The high-pile turf is extremely durable with a thatch support system that eliminates the need for infill—making it the perfect indoor training turf. Customized logos were set in both the black TurfX and weightlifting platforms.
The biggest challenge with the weightlifting area was ensuring a seamless transition between the turf and the rubber surface.
"The layout of the flooring created a central area where everyone is working out together and supporting each other," said Jenna Cruff, interior design director, associate, Perkins & Will. "The idea is to allow athletes to go straight from the racks to training on the interior turf."
Installed in the sports medicine and hydrotherapy areas, Bounce 2 features a synthetic wood-grain surface that is fusion bonded to a VCR-base layer. It achieves the look of real wood but is more economical, durable and easier to clean. Hannah Cothern, interior designer with Perkins & Will, cited the hygienic properties of this particular surface as an advantage. "The rubber backing also made it comfortable for the trainers who are standing on their feet all day and for the athletes performing agility moves," she added.
UNLV Strength Coach Matthew Fyle trains three different lift groups consisting of 30 to 40 athletes daily. What impresses him most about the flooring is the traction and force distribution of Monster.
"When the force from a shoulder drop is distributed back to the athlete, it can result in ankle, knee and hip pain," said Fyle. "With Monster Roll, that force is distributed to the floor, which allows our athletes to train harder with less pain and inflammation. I also like the dynamic capabilities of going from turf to weights."
According to the design team, visitors are raving about the new facility.
"The flooring hits all the functional and safety needs for the athletes," said Cothern.
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