8 cool features of the new Boise State football complex

Boise State gives the media its first tour of the decked-out new facility.

ccripe@idahostatesman.comApril 10, 2014 

Boise State coach Bryan Harsin acted like just another recruit when he arrived in Boise late at night to accept his job.

He wanted to see the Broncos' new digs.

So Harsin went from the airport to the Bleymaier Football Center after 10 p.m. that December evening and took his first stroll through the $22 million, 70,000-square-foot facility wedged in a scenic spot between Bronco Stadium and the Boise River.

The football program moved into the facility last summer.

"This is as nice as anywhere in the country as far as the square footage and what you can get done," Harsin said Wednesday, after the media were given their first tour.

Here are eight cool features of the facility, named after former Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier and his family.

1. THE GRAPHICS

Boise State spent about $750,000 on the massive photos, slogans and other displays that adorn the walls of the complex, including Honor Hall and Victory Tunnel.

Honor Hall features three lighted "signature marks" of the program - The Blue (a strip of turf), the Hammer, and winning tradition (five championship rings). Victory Tunnel, the hallway outside the locker room that leads onto the blue turf, reminds players to "Protect the Blue," "play hard," "play smart" and "stay together."

Harsin has added at least one "Attack the Future" sign but says he won't change much. He counted 22 different terms or phrases used on the walls.

"You embrace the past as you walk through here," he said. "It says, 'This is what's been done.' Also, I think as you walk through here, the words go along with some of the pictures and it basically says, 'This needs to continue.' "

2. KELLEN MOORE MOSAIC

One of the most eye-popping visual elements is the 8-foot-by-10-foot tile mosaic of the former Boise State quarterback outside the entrance to the recruiting lounge. It was donated by the manufacturer through a connection made by the father of current defensive end Beau Martin.

The artwork commemorates Moore's status as the winningest quarterback in college football history. It is among 33 images of Moore in the building.

"The first time he saw (the mosaic), he just shook his head and walked down the hall," said Brad Larrondo, the assistant athletic director for football.

3. PLAYERS LOUNGE

The lounge includes a gaming station with couches, several flat-screen TVs on the walls and a ping-pong table. It's a popular hangout for players that has helped encourage them to stay in the building longer, giving the coaches more opportunities to interact.

Senior defensive tackle Justin "Jaytee" Taimatuia said teammate Deuce Mataele sometimes brings his guitar and players sing.

"That's where we can really be ourselves," Taimatuia said. "We've got a ping-pong table. It gets really competitive."

4. 'BATMAN-ISH' LOCKER ROOM

The locker room holds 115 chrome-and-steel lockers, including three set aside for former players returning to work out. It is designed with a large open space in the front and three spacious spokes, which allows for the team to gather easily and for coaches to see everyone.

Neon signs highlight key words like toughness, effort and attitude, two electronic boards display messages or reminders to the team, a Hammer board lists the winners of the big hit each week, and a large, lit Bronco logo looks down from the ceiling.

"It's kind of got a little bit of that Batman-ish theme to it," Larrondo said.

Added Harsin: "That's as cool of a place as I've seen, any type of locker room I've been in."

5. LAYOUT

Former coach Chris Petersen, who got a commitment to build the facility when he flirted with Stanford after the 2010 season, was heavily involved in its design. He put a premium on function.

Position meeting rooms are across the hall from that coach's office on the second floor. The locker room, training room, equipment room, weight room and players lounge are tightly bunched on the first floor.

The team room even includes extra wide aisles so players can walk in front of their seated teammates.

"Everything is functional," Harsin said.

6. RECRUITING LOUNGE

The glassed-in room in the southeast corner of the building features panoramic views of Bronco Stadium and connects to the patio that runs along the stadium side of the building. There's even talk of putting a grill on the patio for some summer cooking.

7. WEIGHT ROOM

The 12,000-square-foot weight room features a 30-yard stretch of blue turf in the middle used for agility drills and other exercises. A windowed garage door opens onto a courtyard filled with green FieldTurf, which gives the team additional workout space. Two massive ceiling fans circulate the air. In addition to the 20 strength racks, the room includes a cardio balcony and a snack station.

8. HYDROTHERAPY

One of the upgrades the Broncos needed more than wanted was an expanded training room. The 6,500-square foot facility includes a separate room for hydrotherapy - a large cold tub, a small hot tub and an underwater treadmill that allows athletes to exercise with reduced strain on their legs when recovering from an injury. There's expansion space, too.

Check out all 32 photos from Wednesday's tour of the Bleymaier Football Center

Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat

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