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THE GREAT INDOORS
Sheltered facilities increasing

By Andrea Cohen Published: June 14, 2008
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/> "I'd say right now it's the most critical (facility in the planned "athletic village”),” Holder said. "That's why it's No. 1 on our list. It does the most for football, and that's the sport that's needed the most help here. But it also is appealing because it has applications for a lot of sports. It's a way to help a lot of coaches with one facility.”

The facility will include full soccer and football fields and a track straightaway. Softball and baseball will also have batting cages and space to take infield practice.

Indoor facilities have long been a staple at most schools in the Northern states and schools with historically large athletic budgets.

"If you want to put it in perspective, we moved into one in '75 at Arkansas and OU is on its second,” former OSU coach Pat Jones said. "Oklahoma State has never had one. So if you look at it that way, that's close to 30 years behind.”

As with all facilities, a state-of-the-art indoor practice space is also another element to impress recruits in the ever-expanding college athletics arms race.

"It matters a bunch (with recruits),” Jones said. "Like anything else, when you walk into one and they've got the banners up in there, it's impressive. It's a statement about how much football means to the school.”

Holder said it's also a statement about how much donors mean to the school.

"More compelling to us than just the fact that we need it for our sports teams is for Sherman,” Holder said. "We've got a real sense of urgency to put some steel up in the air and get it finished for him.”



OU's 74,000-square foot Everest Indoor Training Center was completed in 2002 at a cost of $9 million. by Jaconna Aguirre, the Oklahoman archive

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