Led by Chancellor Gary S. May and Director of Athletics Kevin Blue, Intercollegiate Athletics hosted a virtual groundbreaking ceremony for its comprehensive academic, strength and conditioning, sports medicine, and team facility on June 24 to celebrate the start of construction of this 50,000-square-foot project. As the exclusive provider of health care services to student-athletes, UC Davis Health will also serve students, faculty, staff and the Davis community from within the building’s footprint.

“This student-athlete performance center is a perfect example of the growing collaboration between UC Davis Athletics and UC Davis Health,” said May.

“This is a first-class facility that will maximize one’s time as an athlete, and a student, while at UC Davis. For UC Davis Health, this is the ultimate fulfillment of a goal to have an expanded footprint on campus and provide sports medicine access to our local community.”

This capital investment, unlike any project in department history, further strengthens ICA’s commitment towards developing an environment that encourages student-athletes’ personal growth, academic, athletic and positive post-graduate success.

Said Blue, “I am excited about this facility because of the transformational impact it will have on our student-athletes, specifically their health and well-being.

“There is a centralized hub for training and rehabilitation, gathering spaces for teams, and expanded footprint for the Aggie EVO program — our system that helps student-athletes move into the best possible job or graduate school opportunities upon completion of their UC Davis degree.”

Thanks to a generous donation from its largest supporter, Blue also announced the new name of this facility — one that will benefit each of UC Davis’ 25 intercollegiate programs – the Edwards Family Athletics Center.

“Bruce Edwards and his family have made an exceptional impact on our organization. His donor contributions are extraordinary, but more than that, he has really invested himself in getting to know our student-athletes, coaches, and being there every step of the way throughout this process,” said Blue. The depth of knowledge he possesses about our student-athletes, coaches and teams is special.”    

The Paul and Nancy Sallaberry Strength and Conditioning Center is the biggest space within the new facility, providing a greater number of student-athletes and teams with the ability to work out at more convenient times. Compared to the current weight room located at Toomey Field, the new training area is nearly four times larger in size.

In addition to team meeting rooms, which will provide ample areas for teams to study and prepare for games, the Bruce and Marie West Auditorium is available for student-athletes, coaches and UC Davis students to organize large gatherings. The Edwards Family Athletics Center features technology throughout the entire building that allows coaches to use these meeting rooms, or the auditorium, as a second office.

The Mike and Renee Child meeting rooms and EVO Lounge provides additional quiet space for student-athletes to study for exams, work on class projects or enjoy a break from their daily class and workout schedules. This area includes offices for Outcomes Advisors, opportunities for student-athletes to network, participate in Aggie EVO-related programming, conduct mock interviews and continue preparing for a successful launch upon graduation.

Centrally located to allow maximum efficiency and collaboration with strength and conditioning staff, the Sports Medicine Center will become the new home for athletic trainers, doctors and unit leadership. One of the largest areas of the building will feature hot and cold tubs — a common tool for recovery — to help sports medicine and strength staff implement modern and more effective injury prevention and recovery plans.

Every team will have the opportunity to train on Bob Biggs Field — a natural grass area located adjacent to the building and named for the UC Davis alumnus and legendary football coach. This new field will eliminate the need for student-athletes to travel across campus and practice on natural grass, and help them create the most time-efficient schedule each week.

In addition to outcomes advisors, football, basketball, lacrosse and field hockey coaches will permanently move to the Edwards Family Athletics Center. Conveniently located near the site of practice and competition, this new office complex provides opportunities for everyone to showcase UC Davis Athletics’ points of pride to recruits, additional areas to conduct player or team meetings and prep for games.

During the facility’s construction, a full renovation of the Bob Foster Team Center will take place to maximize available space within the building’s footprint. Once completed, this facility will include updated locker rooms, offices and equipment space for football, lacrosse and field hockey.

– Eric Bankston