The Vanderbilt Commodores have talked a lot about their commitment to competing in the SEC the past three years.
On Tuesday, they opened their latest project proving it’s more than just words.
Vanderbilt opened the new indoor building Tuesday that houses a 120-yard field for the football team along with a six-lane track for the track and cross country teams. It’s part of a $31 million project renovating the recreation center with the key feature the field Commodores football coaches have wanted for years.
Athletic director DavidWilliams said even he thought such a building would never be built on the Vanderbilt campus even five years ago. He also acknowledges that Vanderbilt was behind in a lot of areas, including facilities, when officia ls made that commitment to compete.
“We’re not trying to match them brick for brick or size for size or building for building, but we are trying to do what we need to do to be competitive and be competing for championships,” Williams said as he showed off the glea ming new building.
Vanderbilt now has something Florida doesn’t. South Carolina has plans for a $14.5 million facility due to open by 2015near the football stadium. Georgia’s indoor facility is big enough for some drills but not a full team practice.
Before now, Vanderbilt had to find an open gym during bad weather.
The field featu res t he same turf as in Vanderbilt Stadium with a roof high enough to practice punts without scraping the hangar-like ceiling. An LED video board hangs in a corner with a training room just off the track along with 35 speakers in the 180,000 square foot addition.
“It’s really helpful because it gives us an opportunity to have a facility on our campus that rivals an indoor facility anywhere in the country,” Franklin said. .