Lowell-Stevens Football Facility opens up new era for Arizona football
The University of Arizona is primarily known as a basketball school. UA football has had some college football Hall of Famers, but long has it languished in basketball’s shadow.
That’s all about to change.
The new Lowell-Stevens Football Facility is the Wildcats’ new $72 million expansion to Arizona Stadium.
“It’s a new day for Arizona football,” said Athletics Director Greg Byrne.
Ryan Revock/ Arizona Summer Wildcat UA Athletics Director Greg Byrne answers questions from he press before beginning the tour of the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013.
Ryan Revock/ Arizona Summer Wildcat The Sands Club is located in the North End Zone Complex of the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility.
Byrne led a tour of the facility Thursday. The LSFF’s lobby is a show in itself, with two large, interactive touch screens that give a history of Arizona football and statistics for each player. Three mannequins in glass cases model the new uniform combinations.
The Sands Club is an upscale lounge with TVs, a buffet table, beer and wine service and lounge chairs. It opens right out to the new seating section that has 570 more seats.
Just below the club is an open concession area, including one near ZonaZoo that will serve allergy-free foods. Along with these concessions is the Bear Down Kitchen, a cafeteria-style dining spot open to the public on non-game days that accepts CatCards.
The cafeteria is a recruiting strategy that assures parents their student-athletes will be well-nourished, Byrne said. The level containing the coaches’ offices has a wall mural of the coaches with their families.
“Every place you go to they say, ‘We’re a family environment.’ I like how we back up those words here,” Byrne said.
On the same floor is the players’ lounge, where athletes can relax on recliners, play video games, pool, foosball and arcade games. Senior cornerback Shane Wilson was playing “NCAA Football 14” on the big screen during the tour.
“It’s kind of cool compared to McKale because it’s somewhere different we can go to, instead of just a normal locker room or a weight room we have somewhere we can just come together as a team and hang out, relax in between practice and meetings,” Wilson said. “They did a great job, we really appreciate it.”
There are rows of player cubbies in the locker room and each locker has a ventilation system right under each seat. The rows of cubbies are orientated towards the center for speeches.
Players can also take advantage of the training room, where the strength and conditioning staff is there to help with rehabilitation purposes. There is a hot tub and a cold tub, as well as high-tech underwater treadmills. Doors from the field enter directly into the weight room, which players agree is a major improvement from before.
“Coming from where we came from, this is absolutely gorgeous,” senior linebacker Jake Fischer said. “This means the world to me.”
An added perk to the fan experience is that ZonaZoo will not open until after the Wildcat Walk, when the players enter the facility following the band two hours before kickoff. Previously, students in the ZonaZoo did not always have the opportunity to witness this tradition.
“When you’re recruiting, you want to say we’re efficient with how we manage your son or your daughter’s time,” Byrne said. “This, from an efficiency standpoint, is really good in what we’re doing.”
Byrne concluded the tour by saying football success is vital to the other programs.
“This is the foundation to give us this chance,” Byrne said.