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The state-of-the-art Marriott Center Annex was a project nearly a decade in the making.
BYU men’s basketball coach Dave Rose wanted a dedicated practice facility on campus since he took over in 2005. Ten years later, in February 2015, the Marriott Center Annex was announced.
The 38,000-square-foot building will house offices for coaches, film and lounge rooms for players, and an exact, full-scale replica of the Marriott Center court.
“This is a day of gratitude for me,” BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe said at the Feb. 21 open house. “I’m grateful to the university administration and the Board of Trustees, who were incredibly supportive in our efforts to build this remarkable facility. I’m so thankful for their commitment to excellence. I’m also appreciative of the many donors and skilled construction workers who made this dream a reality. This is an exciting day for BYU basketball.”
Ground was broken for the annex on Nov. 30, 2015, and the men’s and women’s basketball teams began practicing in the annex in December 2016.
“When you’re talking about a building of this size to be done in about 13 months, that’s a pretty incredible endeavor,” said BYU Associate Athletic Director Duff Tittle.
Beyond day-to-day operations and practice, the annex will be a strong focal point in recruiting for both teams.
“It was pretty important to me as a recruit to know that I would have a place to work on my game,” said freshman forward Yoeli Childs. “At this school, more so than most schools, it’s huge.”
Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams are equally represented in the annex, with banners hanging on opposite ends of the practice floor showing each team’s conference championships, retired jerseys, national players of the year and NCAA tournament appearances.
The annex’s basketball court was designed to give it an authentic Marriott Center look and feel.
“The center court is an exact replica of the Marriott Center floor,” Tittle said. “The same materials, the same colors; it’s painted exactly the way the other floor is.”
Bordering each side of the center court is a nearly half-court size area, allowing individuals or smaller groups to practice while a larger group occupies the center court.
Additional hoops line the sidewalls of the facility and altogether, up to 12 basketball hoops can be used simultaneously.
“The facility is amazing,” said guard Nick Emery. “I spend countless hours in there developing my game myself. To have the donors donate that much money to this cause is incredible and to actually be a part of it is even better.”
The entire cost of the annex, and funds for future maintenance, were provided by donors.
Logistically, the annex is a huge boon for both basketball teams. During the season, the Marriott Center is used for Tuesday devotionals and seasonal concerts and performances. Having a second gym allows the teams to hold practices without worrying about location.
“The convenience of having two gyms with two programs has been a factor this year to this point,” said men’s head coach Dave Rose. “Once the season’s over, then it really becomes a workout gym and I think that will change how we’ve operated over the years.”
Players will be able to use the annex gym throughout the week at their convenience which will allow them to work on their game while giving Marriott Center staff more flexibility in transforming the floor from traditional to athletic use.
There are separate film rooms for each team, featuring 85-inch televisions. They are connected to each team’s lounge room, where players can study, relax and have meetings.
The teams will share the strength and condition room which is located on the southwest side of the building. Before its completion, the teams would have to cross campus to use the weight room in the Student Athlete Building or use a small room with a few machines on the first floor of the Marriott Center.
“It’s great,” said forward Davin Guinn. “We can come up here whenever we want and get our reps in. It’s awesome.”
The training room will also be shared by both teams. It features multiple treatment areas, baths for cold therapy, and a new cryosauna.
“We feel very blessed to have the facility we’ve got,” athletic trainer Jeff Hurst said. “The guys love it and the girls love it.”
The cryosauna is a full-body tank that is cooled by liquid nitrogen used to promote muscle recovery and decrease pain and inflammation. Temperatures during the three minute treatment can drop as low as -220 degrees Fahrenheit.
By comparison, normal cold therapy through ice baths usually requires 12 minutes of treatment time.
“The effect and the benefit are very similar,” Hurst said. “There are certain players that love this thing. They say when they don’t get in, they notice a difference. There are some that say I don’t want to get in, it’s too cold.”
Each team room is also connected to an alumni locker room. Former players are welcome to use the facility when visiting, and the separate rooms allow them to change and shower without disturbing team activities.
Both teams will continue to use the renovated Marriott Center locker rooms for games.
The annex is connected to the Marriott Center via an underground tunnel located between the two buildings. Additional access to either building is available on the ground level.
The front of the annex features memorabilia from BYU basketball history, with a wall of fame located on the upper floor near a new press conference area. This part will be open to the public.
Both coaching staffs will finalize moving into the annex over the coming weeks and additional decorating will be finished as well.
“I am very appreciative to the BYU administration, the athletic administration and those who have worked tirelessly to make the new practice facility a reality,” Rose said. “This facility is a major commitment to our basketball program. It will enhance the student-athlete experience, the development of our players and recruiting.”