A Mean, Green Training Machine
University of North Texas Athletic Training Center and Dining Facility
With its football team winning three conference championships and two bowl championships, the Athletic Department at the University of North Texas had a need to expand its facilities. As part of the first phase of the development of a new athletic complex, the new 45,000-square-foot Athletic Training Center and Dining Facility was completed in January 2005, meeting the athletic and personal needs of male and female athletes with the ultimate goal of driving them to top performance.
"UNT has a very long history in North Texas," said Anita Picozzi Moran, vice president and principal with F&S Partners Inc. "They have gone from being a commuter school to a more traditional, residential campus. They've grown tremendously in the last few years, and with that, the institution has really tried to bolster their athletics program because they see that as part of making it a more traditional campus."
As part of a master-planned extension of the campus, the new athletic facility is just part one of the development, along with a new residence hall and two football practice fields. Planning the center also required master-planning a new football stadium, as well as venues for basketball, track, tennis and a women's soccer complex. The design of the new Athletic Center provides views to the future football stadium to the north, as well as the practice fields to the south.
"It was the first building on a large site that will be the new campus athletic complex, and it's the end zone building for a future stadium," Moran explained. "With that, there was a tremendous amount of master planning that had to go into where that building was located and planned. For example, the player's locker room is on the lowest floor, and there's an exit for them to run down the hill into the new stadium."
As the future focal point of the south end zone, the main level of the facility includes an outdoor terrace called Touchdown Terrace.
It will have an unobstructed view of the stadium.
"Touchdown Terrace is the terrace on the north side at the entry level," Moran said. "Because of the split-level design of the facility, when the new stadium is built Touchdown Terrace will overlook the stadium. It was planned for exactly that purpose—for events and game watching."
From outside, the curved roof of the stair tower and curved front wall of the building provide a sculptural feel that fits well within the campus.
The center was designed with plenty of south-facing glass so passersby can see into the active areas. To reduce heat gain, low "e" insulating glass with a ceramic frit was used, giving the appearance of a window shade to people within, while reducing heat gain by 40 percent.
Within the facility, the design team carefully blended the school's team colors with wood trim and neutral wall colors to provide a pleasing palette and generate a sense of team spirit. A two-story lobby showcases the Mean Green Walk of Honor, with memorabilia and accomplishments of the Mean Green.
The main level of the Athletic Center is on the second floor, housing a 6,200-square-foot weight room, sports medicine training room with therapy pool, meeting rooms and a 400-seat dining facility with full-service kitchen. The upper level features administrative and football coaches' offices, with direct views into the future stadium and newly developed practice fields. On the lower level, the locker room and equipment room provide easy access to the future stadium.
The kitchen and dining hall provides a place for students from a nearby residence hall to gather for a meal and to celebrate UNT sports.
As future phases of the athletics program are developed, UNT will only further cement its status as a more traditional campus.
"UNT and their athletics program have a tremendous amount of energy, and I think they're going to be a tremendous force in our region, both academically and athletically," Moran concluded.