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A view of the Minnesota’s new Athlete’s Village facilities

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It’s a very impressive facility

It appears to be $166 Million Dollars well spent
Andy York/ TDG

GopherGuy05 and GopherNation got a chance to take a tour of the new $166 million dollar Minnesota Athlete’s Village on Saturday. Its really three buildings in one— the Land O’Lakes Center For Excellence which contains the dining spaces, academic center, and leadership areas for all sports and the Charlie and Kathy Cunningham Basketball Performance Center which contains practice courts, meeting rooms, training spaces and lounges for both the men’s and women’s teams are located in one building. The David and Janis Larson Football Performance Center which includes locker rooms, weight rooms, training rooms, lounges, and offices for the football team, and the Indoor Football Practice Facility.

The main entrance has digital boards that can be changed for any use. During our visit the boards highlights the Black History Month honoring that the U is doing, and then were changed later in the day to a sign welcoming soccer families for a visit day along with playing of soccer highlights. The Nutrition center is on the first floor and is open to anyone with a U card for breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday, and then is open to any athlete no matter their scholarship status for dinners Monday-Friday. The dining area can hold about 320 people which is large enough to turn over for the approximately 700 athletes who would eat there at a given meal period.

The John and Nancy Lindahl Academic Center features study and tutoring areas, increased classroom space and a state-of-the-art technology lab. Academic advisers offices are right next to the study spaces to they are easily accessible to student-athletes.

The David and Janis Larson Football Performance Centeris made up of the weight and strength rooms on the first and second floors. The new weight room is 16,000 square feet and has state of the art equipment. The second floor has massage rooms, cardio equipment and room for yoga and strength training.

The third floor is comprised of the locker room and training room. The locker room is shaped like a football, just like in TCF Bank Stadium, and the lockers even have a design of the Minneapolis skyline on them. The training room is massive and contains your standard equipment along with hot and cold tubs and two massive underwater treadmills for rehabiliation that will also be able to be used by other Gopher teams if needed.

The fourth floor contains the coaching staff offices and player meeting rooms and lounge spaces.

The indoor football practice facility is massive, 20,000 square feet larger that the old one and has 85-foot high ceilings to allow for indoor punting and kicking practice.

The Charlie and Kathy Cunningham Basketball Performance Center contains similar spaces for both the men’s and women’s teams. The men’s facilities are located on the third and fourth floor, while the women occupy the fifth and sixth floors. The practice gyms have floors that are a replica of Williams Arena and have room for 1.5 courts and eight baskets. Each team has a lounge, film room, locker room and training facilities adjacent to the practice courts, with the coaches offices a floor above.

One interesting thing of note is that all the graphics are designed in house and are meant to be able to be easily replaced. For example, many of the basketball murals contain the current players and can be easily and cheaply changed from season to season.

Additional work is yet to come on the old Bierman building offices and indoor practice facility. The wrestling team privately raised $2.6 million to turn the old basketball practice gym into a state of the art wrestling room. The old office spaces will be converted into new locker room spaces for several of the other teams that now regularly use the old indoor space including the baseball, softball and soccer teams.

As of now, the U has raised $108 of the $166 million needed to fully fund the athlete’s village project. They are still garnering donations but will use athletic department revenue to fill in the gaps if needed. No taxpayer dollars or tuition funds have or will go into this project.

It is an impressive facility, and hopefully more people will get the opportunity to view it soon. The U says it hopes to give public tours of the facilities some point later this year.