By Luke Lattanzi | Staff Writer
The Fudge Football Development Center — a building that will serve as the future headquarters for the Baylor football program and will be connected to the Allison Indoor Facility — is expected to be completed by the summer of 2024.
According to Henry Howard, associate director for capital projects and championships, the Allison Indoor Facility is being renovated to allow for the expansion of its practice football field, which is only 100 yards in total length. The Fudge Football Development Center will connect to the Allison Indoor Facility, with a welcome lobby being added to the south side of the building.
“You basically will come up to this welcome area, and you either go into the Allison Indoor for training at ground level, or you can go up a set of stairs or up an elevator to a bridge, and it will span all the way from the welcome area to the Fudge facility,” Howard said.
Both the Allison Indoor Facility and the Fudge Football Development Center will become one, with a bridge linking the facility’s welcome area to the rest of the building. The new building will feature 110,000 square feet of new space for the training and development of the football team.
“It’s a weight room, a theater and a meeting room. It’s locker rooms for the football team and for the coaching staff,” Howard said. “It’s the medical training facility, your daily operation of taping ankles, taping arms, wrists. We’re just really excited about it.”
Currently, the football team is headquartered at the Simpson Athletics and Academic Center, which is used by other student-athlete programs at Baylor. The Fudge Football Development Center — as the name suggests — will be dedicated primarily for the football program. Baylor’s Board of Regents approved a $89.6 million total budget for the facility’s construction.
Dallas freshman Linda Tran said while she supports the further development of the football program, she believes the price tag is excessive.
“I feel like [$89.6 million] is insane, and I feel like the money could go to the benefit of everyone on campus,” Tran said. “But I feel like Baylor is very known for football, so if it improves our team and improves our reputation, then it makes sense why they’re doing that.”
Tran also said she believes football can be good for better cultivating school spirit, even in the face of the price tag.
“I know football makes people happy and brings students together and definitely lifts the spirits of everyone,” Tran said. “Just $90 million … wow.”
The Fudge Football Development Center, according to Howard, will be a facility primarily designed for the training and well-being of football athletes, specifically as it relates to nutrition, recovery and the cultivation of general life skills.
“There’s just more opportunities in the area of nutrition,” Howard said. “And nutrition is very important to not only your whole health as an individual, but it helps you study better, it helps you perform better. But even learning life skills for 20 years from now when they’re on their own raising their own families.”
The facility will also feature dedicated spaces for athlete recovery, such as spaces for studying and relaxation.
“We have recovery areas. There’s going to be a specific room adjoined to the locker room where individuals can have quiet time, whether that’s taking a nap before class, before studying, whether it’s recovering before practice,” Howard said.
Howard also said the facility’s weight room will be solely dedicated to the football team, which will allow the players unrestricted access to the necessary strength training that football athletes require.
In addition to those features, the Fudge Football Development Center will also include a theater room where the coaching staff and football team can watch prior games or take part in other educational experiences.
Howard said this is particularly important due to the experiences student athletes have, which are often similar to other students’ experiences, such as time management, preparing for job interviews as an upperclassman, or other important practical skills of adulthood.
“One thing that the athletic director Mack Rhoades has made very clear and wanted us to focus on was maximizing the student athlete, maximizing the coach’s time, just making sure the flow of the facility was efficient and maximized,” Howard said. “We’ve worked very hard to work with the coaches, observe other facilities that were really well-done across the country, and just making sure the facility is as efficient as possible.”