A key marketing piece most athletic departments emphasize while recruiting is the school’s athletic facilities.
Teams recruiting in the warmer parts of the country will be able to sell the pitch that Northwest is one of the few programs in the region that feature a state-of-the-art multipurpose center. That edge will allow Northwest to remain competitive.
But Northwest’s multipurpose facility that is scheduled to begin construction in the summer of 2017 will be much more than a mere marketing piece. It will provide multiple sports with the opportunity to have their own practice place.
As it stands, around six different sports use Lamkin and Martindale to practice. When lightning interferes with football, coaches move practice inside to one of the gyms in the Recreational center or Martindale. Sports such as volleyball and the cheerleading team utilize Lamkin for practice, sometimes causing distractions for the other team.
Both baseball and softball teams figure to benefit immensely, especially during January and February. Adding to the list of teams that use Martindale and Lamkin is the soccer team that also moves indoors when weather prevents it from practicing outside. But the sport that figures to benefit the most from the $20 million center is the track and field team.
“It is a circus in there (Lamkin),” coach Scott Lorek said. “Availability is often tough because different sports are always trying to use it and we are often on top of one another.”
A practice area for field participants is something Lorek has not seen in his time at Northwest. In order for jumpers to get their required practice in, players used a makeshift throwing area that requires throwers to report to the area as early as 6:30 a.m.
New facilities present Lorek with the opportunity to focus on runner development instead of the minutia of worrying about where practice will be held. An area dedicated to runners and throwers gives athletes the luxury of coming in and practicing as they please instead of constructing a schedule that appeals to the needs of other sports.
More practice space is not the only positive the multipurpose center will provide. Along with a new venue, Northwest will also be allowed to host events in certain sports.
“We will get in a conference rotation for the indoor championships,” Lorek said. “We will also host different high school and collegiate meets.”
Considering the recent success of the cross country team, new facilities will only entice potential student-athletes to look at Northwest when deciding where to continue their career. The entire track and field team serves to benefit the most from the new center, but the long distance runners will experience the biggest change due to Martindale and Lamkin’s inability to provide temporary solutions.
“With our runners in 800 meters and up, we cannot even use Lamkin,” Lorek said. “We are outside every day, regardless of the weather.”
Construction of the new multipurpose is scheduled to last less than a year, just in time for Lorek and Co. to take full advantage of the new facility.