It's a college player's playground.
Clemson University's $55 million Allen N. Reeves Football Complex — opened on National Signing Day (Feb. 1), less than a month removed from the Tigers' National Championship victory over Alabama — features a Wiffle Ball field, a two-lane bowling alley and a nine-hole miniature golf course, among other amenities too numerous to list here. But the element that truly tips the whimsy scales is an interior slide that allows student-athletes to get from the 142,000-square-foot facility's second level to the ground floor in a way that's faster and more fun than nearby stairs. Having seen the 2013 movie "The Internship," head coach Dabo Swinney expressed his desire to replicate the Google slide experience for his players. HOK specified a unit 15 feet tall, 25 degrees steep and 36 inches in diameter, using 2,000 pounds of 12-gauge stainless steel capable of supporting up to 400 pounds of superhumanity. "We saw a real opportunity to do something beyond what's been done in training facilities and create some fun aspects within the work zone," says project designer Trevor Bechtold, who also made room for such necessities as coaches' offices, film-study rooms, player-recovery areas and 120 individual lockers. "They were adamant about keeping everything they needed programmatically for football, and then made sure they kept in that layer of fun, as well. That's what their program's all about — hard work, family and fun."
This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Slide stands tall in crazy-fun Clemson Football Complex." Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.