TEMPE, Ariz. — Friday afternoon, Arizona Cardinals owner and president Michael Bidwill took the assembled media on a tour of the team’s newly-renovated training facility.
And if you’re looking for one word to describe it, “impressive” should suffice.
Everything received a makeover, from the locker room, the kitchen and dining area, the tubs, the weight room and the position meeting rooms to the hallways connecting it all. Bidwill even gave us a look at the virtual reality system the team uses.
Starting at the place where Pat Tillman’s locker now sits, Bidwill explained all that went into the changes.
“We’ve had a three-phase, two-year, 92,000 square foot expansion of the training facility,” he said.
Bidwill said before the renovation the team had no kitchen and about 600 square feet to feed players, but now the kitchen takes up about 5,000 square feet. He said the team serves 32,000 meals per year, and this will help make sure the team’s players are eating right.
The locker room was also updated with more electricity and lighting, while the hydrotherapy room was also expanded to about three-times the size it used to be. It features a cold tank, an underwater treadmill, a hot tub, steam room and dry sauna.
Then, of course, there’s the weight room that has been expanded by over two-and-a-half times, Bidwill said.
“It was 4,100 square feet before, it’s now over 9,000 square feet,” he said, before summarizing the entire project. “It’s really incredible that the players have been able to use this ever since we got back from training camp, and we’re going to see big benefits.
“Not only from the weight room and the hydrotherapy, but the dining hall, as well.”
The makeover cost roughly $15 million, and it’s something Bidwill said was necessary for a while. When the facility first opened in 1990, it was seen as state of the art. Over time, however, other organizations passed Arizona by, and if the Cardinals wanted to compete, changes need to be made.
“So we felt like let’s bring it up to current standards and really try to plan for the future, the things that we can use,” he said. “So we’re really excited that we’ve been able to have this opportunity to expand.”
Bidwill said he appreciated the patience everyone in the organization showed while the renovations were taking place, as football operations were going on during much of the time.
One of those players, defensive lineman Calais Campbell, is pleased with the result.
“A lot of communication going on about how much more we like the place, how much more fun it is to be around it,” he said. “So definitely all the players appreciate it.”
While there is no way to quantify what kind of impact the changes will have on the field, it’s not difficult to make connections. The weight room and kitchen changes certainly can’t hurt their physical selves, and the locker room along with history-adorned walls should help with morale.
The result, if nothing else, plenty of good vibes heading into the season.
“I think the biggest thing as a player is you want to know that your owner believes in you, and he’s shown us that,” Campbell said. “There’s no question or dispute now that he’s put all that money into the locker room and making this place.
“All this is for us, so we really do appreciate it.”