Football locker room undergoes makeover
TNE Editor

Football locker room undergoes makeover

Published 2/8/2018

Jalen Porter

TNE Writer

NSU’s football team is one of the major sports on campus. The program plays a major part on and off the field. The coaches and student-athletes represent NSU around campus. The players can be looked at as leaders on campus. The locker room can be a second home to athletes. It is a place where athletes can be comfortable and block distractions going on outside of their football world. Tony Duckworth, NSU athletic director, is in the process of facilitating a re-build of  the football  locker room.

“These improvements will greatly assist our football program's efforts in recruiting and retention while enhancing the student-athlete experience,” said Duckworth. “We have been strategic in how we have been enhancing Doc Wadley Stadium, and the locker room project will flow nicely with recent upgrades.”

With Doc Wadley stadium being 54 years old, it is time to make certain aspects in the bowels of the stadium code compliant while creating a modern layout to the existing space. The upgrades include new turf installed in 2015 to ensure player safety, followed by video board projects in 2015 and 2017 to improve the fans’ experience. The 2016 redesign included upgrades to the strength training area inside the indoor practice dome and the Gable Field framing wall pad project.

 “The final budget will be presented at RUSO board meetings in a few weeks,” said Duckworth. Once the scope of the project is approved, he will be able to provide the figures for the budget on this project.  However, the budget will be a combination of university funds and private dollars to support the completion of this project.

The locker room updates will improve and resolve existing issues. Despite the lockers being in poor shape, the flooring is the main problem. Tahlequah often has floods so the locker room has occasionally overflowed at times due to the locker room being underground. Unlike other sports, the football team has an abundance of players with over 70 on the team, so there also has to be room for the players to lounge.

“That locker room was here when I played in 2009,” said Chris Girdner, NSU football coach. “It’s good that its getting redone, and I’m glad for the players to get a new locker room since they spend most of their time in there.”

Duckworth will rely on NSU's capital project team led by Jon Asbill, architect, to handle all of the approval regulations as it relates to building code requirements.  Within the capital projects team is finalizing the layout based on programming meetings with athletics administration, Rob Robinson, NSU head football coach and the sports medicine team.  These programming meetings and drawings will be presented to an outside architect as the renovation plans are finalized prior to the project going through the public bid process, which will be organized by the NSU Purchasing Department.

“Getting to come into a nice locker room before weights and practice will help us get psychologically ready for it,” said Jake Woodson, Wagoner sophomore. “Players will hang out more in the locker room and that will help us grow closer as a unit.”

The locker room is open to football players and faculty who are within the program. It is located under Doc Wadley Stadium by the concession stand. Rebuilding the locker room gives upcoming players something they have not experienced in high school. It is a chance for them to join the RiverHawk family.

For more information, email Duckworth at directorofathletics@nsuok.edu.

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