Washington State football finally has a true place to call “home”, after the doors to the football operations building were opened earlier this week (Monday to be exact) to the team and coaches that inhabit the program.
To be honest, when you think back to the tin-can of a stadium just 3 seasons ago, the transformation from what Martin Stadium was to what it is now is simply incredible. Here what the stadium looked like before the transformation.
Truly a beautiful high school stadium, Martin used to be the most undersized and unattractive location in the Pac-10/12 Conference to actually go and watch a football game. Sure, the old loyal Coug will rarely admit to it, coming up with all of the reasons Martin could compete with the rest of the conference because of the family atmosphere and the small-town-feel, but come on now. When you look at what it is today, there should be no question that the previous version on it’s best day just didn’t compare. Thanks to a couple of twitter screen grabs from WSU and US-Presswire, here is what the stadium looks like today.
WSU Twitter Screen Grab
Indeed, this is a pretty special transformation for not just football, but all of WSU athletics. These two completed projects put Washington State on the map with the biggest schools in the country. It’s not lacking for originality either, as it has the uniqueness to oversee both the practice field and the entire stadium at the same time, as well as the awesome structural setup to connect by walkway to the CUB (Compton Union Building) so that students can go in and out as they please, looking through the history of WSU football.
Of course this gives the students a very personal relationship with the football program and is something that most football OPS building’s (perhaps none(?)) boast throughout the country. The student-athletes and coaches of course really benefit with one central location, state-of-the-art locker rooms, equipment and facilities, including hydro-pools, ice and heat therapy, weight-training equipment and much more.
This is huge in not just the look, but the actual development of the players. WSU’s student athletes will no longer be at a physical disadvantage with the rest of their competition on a daily basis, which is much more solvent than words can justify. Here’s a few other things to think about.
- Added indirect benefits of the OPS building is the additional cost-coverage of the new practice and Martin Stadium field turf (both to have crimson end zones as far as we understand, though not 100% confirmed). Old turf was installed in 2006, stadium turf generally can last anywhere from 8-10 years, though NFL teams switch out every 4-6 years because in reality that’s when it becomes very difficult to manage and begins to really get chopped up.
- WSU’s state-of-the-art weight room was placed on the 2nd floor, with a full view of both Rogers practice field and Martin Stadium. This is completely unique on a national scale.
- Of course we’ve already seen the benefits that even an unfinished OPS building means to recruiting. The best kids want to be a part of something that’s growing into championship material, now WSU can boast that particular goal without having to fight for the attention of the student-athlete. They’ll have their attention from the time they step onto campus.
- Increased noise during home games, between the new stadium speakers, the new press box and the OPS, I believe the increase in noise in Martin was estimated 25-30% louder, if not close to that. Regardless, it is significant in creating more home field advantage for the Cougs on gameday.
Overall this is just a huge move for Cougar football and in the realm of what it means to ticket sales and advanced Cougar Athletic Fund revenue while building a winning program on the Palouse, is big for all programs at the University. Can’t wait to see this gem on gamedays this Fall.