Oklahoma State Football To Become Final Big 12 Program With Indoor Facility

June 22, 2011 / Football

OSU announced on Tuesday that groundbreaking on the Sherman E. Smith Training Center will occur in early August. The facility will bear the name of Smith, a 1948 OSU graduate and Tulsa oilman who died recently. In 2007, he donated $20 million toward the construction of an indoor facility.

“In terms of our facilities, I knew it was inevitable that we would finally get this final piece of the puzzle,” OSU athletic director Mike Holder said.

The cost of the uniquely designed, 92,000-square-foot facility is $16 million. An additional $3 million is being spent on the development of three new practice fields – two blanketed with grass and one with artificial turf.

Expected to be completed by January 2013, the indoor facility will be immediately north of Boone Pickens Stadium and include a field that accommodates the Cowboy football and soccer teams. The baseball, softball and track programs also will use the building. A covered, 100-yard sprint track will be located on the west edge of the building.

The indoor facility’s design is unusual in that the walls are not solid from end to end and from side to side. On the north and south ends of the building, there are garage-style doors. On the east and west sides of the building, there are reinforced-fabric doors that roll up. A few offices and rooms will be outfitted with conditioned air, but for the most part, the Smith Center will not be heated or cooled.

The design, says architect Jim Hasenbeck of Studio Architecture in Oklahoma City, is “totally out of the box. We don’t know of a facility that’s anything like this.”

Said Holder: “When I first saw the drawings, I was immediately intrigued. I like when someone tackles a project from a completely unique perspective.”

The indoor field is football-friendly in that it has 10 yards of open space along each sideline. The space should allow ball-carriers and defensive players to avoid collisions with walls at the end of a play.

Included in OSU’s original 2006 Athletic Village plan was the construction of a $50 million, 151,000-square-foot indoor facility. Because of the 2008 stock-market crisis, when OSU’s facilities fund sustained a loss of $282 million (dropping from $407 million to $125 million), university officials were forced to solicit new designs that would result in a smaller, less expensive indoor facility.

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