STANFORD — David Shaw has been shuttling between makeshift work stations in Stanford’s athletic department since the spring, and some of his coaches have been operating out of cubicles erected on a basketball court while workers moved the football offices into a new facility.
Safe to say they’re all about to get a major upgrade.
Stanford unveiled the football team’s sparkling new digs Thursday night. The new $21 million addition of the Arrillaga Family Sports Center, which also will provide services to other teams, has everything from a new locker room to coaches’ offices to lounges for players past and present.
Shaw moved into his office Thursday morning along with a few others once the school received clearance from the fire department, and the entire fifth-ranked football program will move into the building next week after hosting No. 15 Washington on Saturday night.
“It shows how serious we are about football,” Shaw said. “We needed new facilities. We needed more space and we needed a bigger, nicer locker room and we needed the meeting space. It’s exactly what we needed. It’s beautiful.”
The project is the latest example of the program’s rise to an unlikely national powerhouse the last six years. After going to three straight BCS bowl games, including the school’s first Rose Bowl victory in 41 years last January, the staff had outgrown its small corner of Stanford’s athletic offices.
The Cardinal also are trying to keep pace, especially after Pac-12 rival Oregon recently opened its glitzy new football facility — estimated conservatively at $68 million — funded by Oregon alum and Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife, Penny. Washington also underwent a $280 million renovation to Husky Stadium and its football facilities.
Matt Doyle, Stanford’s associate athletic director and director of football operations, said he toured about 50 other major collegiate facilities for ideas. One of the unique aspects of Stanford’s 27,000-square foot addition features: 110 lockers for current players as well as a secondary locker area where Stanford’s NFL and other former athletes can return in the offseason.
“We hadn’t really seen anything like that,” Doyle said.
Shaw, along with athletic director Bernard Muir and other senior members of the football staff, helped design the slogans and pick out photos that grace the walls. Shaw said he wanted the team’s new home to feel like a Hall of Fame honoring the past and to remind everybody who enters the facility to see “how we got here.”
Lettering along one wall states: “The Stanford Man. Purpose, Precision, Passion, Pride.” On another, there’s a slogan underneath a Stanford Football sign that reads: “Greatness is the result of repeated intentional actions.” And there’s also a motto that proclaims: “Stanford…not a four-year decision, but a lifetime decision.”
There are pictures that highlight games such as the Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech in 2011 and the Rose Bowl win against Wisconsin last season. There’s also the Andrew Luck Auditorium, a 136-person theatre-style meeting room named after the record-setting quarterback drafted No. 1 overall by the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts last year.
Doyle said Luck made a donation to the project but did not ask for any recognition. The auditorium’s name was given after a private donation from someone else, Doyle said.
The locker room is bordered by an equipment room, study lounge — which honors Stanford’s 47 Academic All-Americans — and player lounge paying tribute to Stanford’s current NFL players. Located above the locker room are offices for coaches and support staff, reception lounges, three conference and staff rooms and eight team meeting rooms.
There’s also a hallway that honors past Stanford coaches — including Shaw’s predecessor, Jim Harbaugh, who has a small picture on one wall on the second floor — as well as players from Jim Plunkett to John Elway who played decades ago.
The bottom level has an expanded weight room and an athletic training center that includes work room for the program’s concussion study program, treatment centers and whirlpools. Renovations will continue in the building, including for the weight room and other programs and administrative areas, over the next six months or so. Other programs will also shuffle into new facilities with the football team moving.
The project was funded in large part by billionaire real estate developer John Arrillaga, a Stanford alum whose name adorns many buildings on campus. There also were large donations from former players.
“It’s something special,” senior running back Tyler Gaffney said. “It’s unfortunate that the guys before us, the older guys that I played with, don’t get to experience it. But it wouldn’t have gotten built without them.”