The looks from first-time viewers range from amazement to bewilderment to “you-got-be-kidding me." Few gawk without an open mouth. Most just shake their heads.
This is Las Vegas, but it’s not even "The Strip.”
This is the Shangri-La of prep athletic training facilities and it resides at Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
, home of the nation’s No. 10 high school football team.
The facility benefits every Gorman athletic program and the Gaels are loaded with nationally recognized teams. The baseball squad finished No. 1 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national rankings last spring after the 2011-12 boys basketball team finished No. 7.
Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.), the country’s No. 11 football squad, arrived Wednesday from a 2,500-mile trip to play the Gaels today, just three weeks after then No. 10 Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) flew about the same distance from Washington D.C. for a game.
The games themselves - Gorman beat Good Counsel 27-22 on Aug. 24 – have and will draw national attention, not to mention lasting memories for the players and coaches. But the Fertitta Athletic Training Center, which opened in July, is a vision to behold.
“This is like no high school facility I’ve ever seen,” said a Good Counsel alum who took a short tour through the 41,000-square foot building hours before kickoff. “This is better than most college facilities I’ve seen.”
Bishop Gorman coach Tony Sanchez said he’s heard that a lot. “Alabama, USC, Auburn, Ohio State,” he said. “People who have been there tell me they have nothing on this. I really don’t know. I just know this is pretty spectacular and we’re very fortunate.”
From a 90-seat classroom for game film to hydrotherapy pool and ice bath to 11,500-square-foot weight room to four-lane, 60-yard track to state-of-the-art locker room, there were few details that went undone or expense spared.
What that cost was Gorman officials won’t say in honor of requests from the donors themselves. This much they will say: The entire project was paid by donations.
The facility and design honors the history of the school by inscribing the No. 54 on each of the several jerseys portrayed on the walls. The school opened in 1954. There are giant Gorman ‘Gs’ at every turn on every wall and ceiling and even the floor of training room spa.
“We won’t forget where we came from,” Sanchez said. “All the hard work and dedication from this community before us led us to this point. We had success before with a smaller facility. As long as we hold on to our past and embrace the future we’ll be just fine.”