In an ideal location, situated at the southeast corner of the Fort Hays State University campus, adjacent to Lewis Field football stadium, the Schmidt-Bickle Indoor Training Facility is equipped with weight training equipment; cardio equipment; a full-width, sixty-five yard long multi-sports field covered in new artificial turf; and meeting and entertainment rooms. For track and field training, there is a seventy-yard, four-lane synthetic track with jump pits.
In this project, Varco Pruden BuilderT QMC, Inc. constructed an all-new multipurpose home for athletes at FHSU. The 50,400-square-foot facility serves as a year-round indoor athletic training center for multiple sports programs such as football, baseball, soccer, softball and track. The new facility aspires to be the heart of the campus.
The new practice facility is built on the lot previously used as the FHSU football practice field.
Completed in March 2013, the new indoor training facility features a 5,000 square foot weight training area with locker rooms; 2,500 square feet of equipment storage, and offices. Retractable indoor batting cages and track and field throwing cages are suspended from the roof structure. Athletes from various sports are able to train year-round in this new facility which expands the athletic training area available at the university's Cunningham Hall/Gross Coliseum.
Jesse Bauman, project manager with QMC, Inc., a general contracting business based in Quinter, Kansas, helped manage the project.
"Today's most active college athletes train all year and a state-of-the-art facility open year-round helps to make this possible," said Bauman. "One of the university's primary goals for this project is to boost the recruitment of young student athletes," he continued.
The facility is named in honor of Don and Chris Bickle and Bob and Pat Schmidt, whose combined gifts toward this project total $2 million.
"The Bickles and Schmidts understand the huge economic impact college sports programs have on a community like Hays, Kansas," said Bauman. "Don Bickle drove his truck nearby the construction site almost every day to watch the progress. He would park and give the contractors a thumbs-up."
According to Bauman, the two most important aspects of the new athletic practice facility are function and practicality. "It was important that we maintain those aspects and produce an aesthetically pleasing facility as well," he noted.
Though aesthetically pleasing, the project came with a significant challenge. Due to its geographical location, the facility had to be elevated above the flood plain. Exterior concrete walks were built around the existing limestone fence surrounding the football field to address this issue.
With 186' clear span framing, the facility uses energy-efficient PrisMAXT SL prismatic skylights to provide natural lighting during daylight hours. A Rigid Frame system, SSRT Standing Seam Roof system in Cool Dark Bronze, and Vee RibT wall panels in Cool Egyptian White were also used in the construction.
The interior walls and roof are covered with protective netting to prevent damage to the facility. The entry canopy was designed with fixed-base support for the 12"x12" columns and inset rafters were used to eliminate brace rods. The building has exposed framing for a clean, architectural look.
Native limestone, a trademark for buildings throughout the FHSU campus, was also used on this project. The limestone walls of the weight room and storage rooms wrap around the arena on the north and east, creating depth and diminishing the size of the arena. A floating entry roof is a main architectural feature. It is supported above an open atrium on eight 12" by 12" fixed base columns. Inset secondary on the entry roof eliminates any structural components from being exposed.
The corners of the large practice arena are accented with horizontal corrugated bronze panels by Morin, a roll-formed metal wall and roof panel manufacturer. This feature is very successful in visually presenting this large structure. 5' and 6' eave and rake overhangs trimmed in bronze also soften the large size of this arena and add interest.
"Pre-engineered steel has long been ideal for large span projects like this one. With the design flexibility common with VP, there are fewer design limitations. The facility should be maintenance-free for many years with the KXL paint finishes on both roof and walls. The installation of the roof was supervised by certified foremen and the optima warranty, which permits roof repair at no cost for the life of the warranty," said Bauman.
"The project was completed on time and within budget. All trades worked together with respect and cooperation. The FHSU architect, Dana Cunningham, was very helpful in facilitating the progress. We are proud to have been involved with this facility, and wish all FHSU athletes and coaching staff many years of success, both on and off the field," Bauman continued.
Dr. Edward Hammond, previous president of the university, couldn't have been more proud of the work.
"Athletics is a window to the FHSU campus," said Hammond. "The need to enhance and incorporate state-of-the-art facilities is vital to the success of current programs and to recruiting the most talented athletes in the region."
He expects the training facility to broaden training and recruiting possibilities for the more than 400 student athletes at the university.
is the public relations coordinator for Varco Pruden Buildings (VP), one of the nation's largest building-solutions companies. VP provides innovative engineering and steel building products through a network of nearly 1,000 builders within the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.vp.com.