The stress of a big game can put strain on an athlete, but so can not knowing where a practice is going to be held next. The St. Ambrose athletic department currently uses 11 sports facilities throughout the Quad Cities, but that might be changing this semester through the purchase of the Bubble.
The Orthopedic Specialists Sports complex, more commonly known as the Brady Street Bubble, is going to be used by both the athletic department and campus recreation. The Bubble will add value to campus because it is going to give the SAU community much more space for the sports teams to operate. It will also allow students to utilize Lee Lohman Arena and the new facility more for recreational activities.
“It’s really hard for just a regular student to get in there [Lee Lohman Arena] and use it for any purpose,” Mike Poster, vice president of finance, said. “We have track practice in there and we have teams practicing in there at all hours of the night,. This [The Bubble] allows us to have a place where we can have football practice, men and women’s soccer and golf- it really adds to our recreational space.”
The Bubble is located on Brady Street a couple miles away from the SAU campus. This poses a problem for some students and athletes who do not have cars. This was also one of the reasons that SAU did not purchase The Bubble two years ago when it was offered.
“That is one thing we questioned… but our football team currently works out on a property about a mile off of campus on 35th street and we’ve got a lot of athletic department vans to transport students and student athletes,” Poster said.
The Bubble was purchased at the start of April for a price of $450,000. The 67,000 square foot facility will be used to provide additional indoor recreation space for students and for athletic team. SAU plans to have both the athletic department and Campus Recreation utilize the Bubble.
“The schedule would have to be worked out, but we would anticipate it would be used by Campus Rec. as well as numerous intramural opportunities… we will just have to get Campus Rec. and the athletic department together,” Poster said.
The purchase of The Bubble has been easier than the renovations and cleaning up of the facility. Maintenance has been cleaning it up, due to the fact the prior owner did not keep it in the best of conditions. Poster hopes to get done with the needed improvements and then figure out what the best way to use the facility will be.
“There is Astroturf in there and it is about five years old and he [the prior owner] has never gone in and put more of the infill in,” Poster said. “So we would like to go in immediately and put more infill and go in and put more Astroturf.”
As for the inside of The Bubble, Poster stated it comes down to how the different groups want to use the space for the trainers or anything else sports related. It also comes down to what Campus Rec. wants to use it for. Then SAU will make the appropriate adjustments for everyone who is using the facility.
“For the most part, we bought it for the large Astroturf and the batting cages for baseball and softball that are made available,” Poster said.
It will be difficult for Campus Rec. to utilize The Bubble this school year due to the fact that it was bought so late in the semester. The SAU football team is currently using The Bubble for practice and Campus Rec. and general students will be able to use The Bubble this coming fall. SAU students will now be able to look forward to a new place for recreational activity.