Sacramento State University, located in Sacramento, Calif., offers seven academic colleges with 58 undergraduate majors. In keeping with the campus’ rugged outdoor environment, Sacramento State offers opportunities for adventure both indoors and out. The school’s state-of-the-art recreation and wellness center, known as The WELL, exists for the benefit of students and the greater Sacramento community.
“The WELL was built six years ago and is a 150,000-square-foot facility that offers student health support, outdoor education, a recreation facility, and climbing wall,” said Jason Blessinger, assistant director of fitness at Sacramento State. “When the building was constructed, the architects included some weird spaces that were non-usable outdoor areas. More specifically, an area outside of the fitness center had access issues, and members could not go in and out of these doors.
“Our goal was: How can we use this space more effectively?” said Blessinger. “We were looking at enclosing it, which would have cost more than $2 million and was too expensive. The administration thought this space would never be used.”
During this time, the nationwide trend toward functional training also was starting to have an impact on the university. “We started creating other areas in the building for non-traditional exercise space, things like TRX and boxing, and it was getting used,” said Blessinger. “Our customer base was asking for more non-traditional exercise space.”
As a result, Sacramento State transformed the previously non-usable outdoor area outside The WELL into a functional turf space. Having had good success with Ecore Athletic Bounce 2 surfacing in its GroupX room, the university began working with David Sides, Ecore athletic & fitness regional sales manager.
Sides suggested installing Training Ground with Nike Grind TurfX and Everlast UltraTile®. TurfX features a 35mm thick system comprised of a 25mm turf wear layer field united to a 10mm Nike Grind SmashPad. What’s unique about TurfX is that the SmashPad is comprised of materials generated from recycled athletic shoes. This surface’s thatch support system eliminates the need for infill, making it the perfect training turf. TurfX also is highly customizable, with options for logos, agility drills, or other designs, and is available in seven different colors.
“We got our logo in it and it looks really cool,” said Blessinger. “The logo enhances this space from the outside in. We don’t have turf anywhere else in our building, so to be able to offer an alternative exercise space is great. Members do sprints, agility work, roll tires, and perform outdoor work in this area.”
In addition to these activities, this new functional fitness space offers small group classes, featuring bells, bags, ropes and sports agility. “It’s an awesome space to use for classes, because we’re not blocking off part of a weight room to do it, or actually having to be on a field,” said Blessinger. “It’s a really cool place.”
The TurfX is surrounded by Ecore Athletic’s Everlast UltraTile, a 2-foot by 2-foot by 1-inch tile. This surface’s patented “ultra” wear layer on a molded base allows it to surpass the noise and shock absorption qualities of any other fitness floor. Sacramento State installed the UltraTile to “follow the line of the building, which is kind of curved,” said Blessinger. “It looks functional, and you won’t trip over anything.” That’s because the UltraTile provides a nice transition between the TurfX and existing surfacing in the WELL.
The school is very happy with the results of its new functional training space. “We have over 5,000 people a day come into our building,” said Blessinger. “The University has 32,000 students, and there is nothing else around, so it’s highly utilized. Flooring and equipment gets used very frequently, so we look for stuff that will last.”