University of Minnesota Athletes Village

Minneapolis, MN

This $166 million complex rewrites practice, lifestyle and academic playbooks.  The spaces strike a balance between honoring the history of the school’s athletics and motivating current student athletes to strive for academic excellence and service to their community.

The University of Minnesota leaders conceived of the three-building, 387,000-square-foot Athletes Village as an asset to elevate U of M athletics to an “elite” level – a favorite word of football coach P.J. Fleck – comparable to other, major collegiate powerhouses. But, it’s primary purpose is to comprehensively serve the needs of the university’s 700-member student-athlete population.

The complex includes a 92,000-square-foot indoor football field; a state-of-the-art football performance center with a sports medicine facility; a new basketball training center with separate courts for men’s and women’s teams; a nutrition center; an academic center with 34 tutoring rooms and a study lounge; and a sixth-floor Student Athlete Center for Excellence that will be a flagship facility for the entire Athletics Department. The Leadership Center emphasizing academics, leadership development and nutrition, and will be an addition to the existing athletic field building and football complex.

The Larson Football Performance Center is 85 feet tall in order to allow indoor punting, and indoor practice facilities are connected by a skyway, with a players’ lounge that overlooks practices inside the facility.The center also features a state-of-the-art sports medicine program with therapy pools and rehabilitation equipment, a weight room with a 40-yard sprint turf, meeting rooms for individual offensive and defensive teams, and a stadium-style, all-teem meeting room that views the outdoor training field to the north of the facility.

A relatively compact building site posted a challenge for the design and construction teams, said lead architect Greg Fenton of BWBR.

“It was a unique situation; most of the time these kinds of sites are larger, with buildings spread out,” he said. “In the urban setting, we had to stack spaces, including putting the men’s and women’s basketball practice facilities on top of each other. We needed to make sure they performed well for the athletes, but also wouldn’t bother people in the dining area underneath.”

The resulting building height provides “an added bonus,” Fenton said: dramatic views of downtown Minneapolis, along with TCF Bank stadium and hockey and basketball arenas. “The (west-facing) view can really connect athletes to downtown, where they might be looking to spend the next stage of their lives.”

-Dan Emerson (Finance & Commerce)

Wells Concrete provided 309 pieces of precast concrete for the project, including wall panels, insulated wall panels, and the biggest stairs the producer has ever sold. The project had sand blast, acid etch, and formliner finishes with features.

ProductSq Ft# Pieces
Architectural Insulated Wall1,2688
Flat Architectural36,183303
Flat Structural3,35413