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Northern Arizona University opens a new training center for its student athletes

Sports and Recreational Facilities

Northern Arizona University opens a new training center for its student athletes

In addition to its various athletic and academic spaces, the center offers “one of the best views of any training facility in the country.”

By Novid Parsi, Contributing Editor | May 19, 2022
NAU Student Athlete training facility ext 1
Courtesy NAU.

In Flagstaff, Ariz. Northern Arizona University (NAU) has opened its new Student-Athlete High Performance Center. 

Designed by DLR Group and built by CORE Construction, the $46 million, 72,000-square-foot training center significantly increases the academic, weight training, recovery, and nutrition space available to Lumberjack student athletes. The facility sits on a hillside with views of Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona.

To enter the building, visitors cross a 140-foot walking bridge that begins at the base of the tree line and elevates 20 feet before reaching the entry. This design choice allowed DLR Group to leave the site as untouched as possible.

“The iconic Parsons Family Auditorium undeniably features one of the best views of any training facility in the country, sitting above the tree line with a 60’ by 40’ glass wall that frames unobstructed views of the 12,600-foot Humphreys Peak and the San Francisco Range,” Andrew Kelly, sports design leader, DLR Group, said in a statement.

Other features include the country’s largest high-altitude training chamber on a college campus. It can simulate atmospheric conditions ranging from sea level to 12,000 feet, allowing student athletes to train at higher elevations and recover faster at sea level. 

The Scott and Franci Free Academic Center—which increases dedicated academic space from 700 square feet to more than 7,000 square feet—offers individual study areas, three classrooms, a computer lab, and academic staff offices. 

The Jennifer Marie Wilson Strength and Conditioning Center more than doubles the size of the Lumberjacks’ weight training area to 11,500 square feet. And the Michael E. Nesbitt Athletic Training Center features three hydrotherapy recovery pools. 

In addition, NAU athletics programs are partnering with the University’s College of Health and Human Services to conduct research on student athletes in the Sims-Treharne Collaborative Research Lab.

On the team: 
Owner and/or developer: Northern Arizona University
Design architect and architect of record: DLR Group
MEP  and structural engineers: DLR Group 
Civil engineer: Shephard-Wesnitzer, Inc.
Landscape architect: Norris Design
General contractor/construction manager: CORE Construction

NAU training center int
Courtesy NAU.
NAU training facility field
Courtesy NAU.
NAU training facility int 2
Courtesy NAU.


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