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Full of creativity of function, collaboration of entities, and top-notch academia, 

the newest building on the University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus, The William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center stands on the edge of campus as a focal point to the future. The center, opened in June, is the premiere destination for sports medicine, health and human performance.

The 104,634-square-foot building is a partnership between UCCS and Penrose-St. Francis-Centura Health. This collaboration brings together a unique combination of clinical practice, undergraduate and graduate education, and clinical, faculty and student research. Three distinguished centers are housed within the Hybl Sports Medicine & Performance Center, including the Center for Tactical and Occupational Performance, the Center for Active Individuals with Physical Disabilities, and the Center for Human Health & Performance in Extreme Environments.

Special features of the center include:

  • Sports medicine and human performance clinical, testing and counseling services;
  • Full imaging suite including MRI, Radiography, C-arm X-ray, and DEXA scan equipment for determining bone density;
  • Space for faculty and other experts to conduct groundbreaking research;
  • Custom treadmill that can support bikes, wheelchairs, multiple people, and can elevate to 30 degrees with speeds up to 40 miles per hour;
  • 450-sf altitude room with treadmills and bikes;
  • 320-sf environmental chamber;
  • 4,500-sf outdoor turf field;
  • 60-meter track; and
  • Classroom and lecture spaces.

One unique aspect of this center being located in Colorado Springs is that it allows athletic training to follow the model of “live high and train low,” where an athlete can live at altitude for acclimation, but train at the equivalent of sea level. This allows stamina to build up over time. Individuals and teams will have the ability to train in the special altitude chambers, which can simulate a range from sea level to 17,000 feet, allowing them to train in a range of conditions. The center’s environmental chamber will be among the largest of its type in the region. Altitude, temperature and humidity are controlled in the chamber and can simulate locations such as Death Valley, the Mount Everest base camp and others. Experiments that often last several days can take place providing unique training for first responders, athletes, and the military in a shorter time frame.

This is one of the five projects in the City of Champions initiative where funding was provided for projects that would boost the local economy from outside the region.

In design-build partnership with RTA Architects and HOK, we worked with Centura Health and UCCS to deliver the project from concept to reality. The team has worked together on other projects in the past and welcomed the opportunity to deliver this distinguished facility for UCCS, Penrose-St. Francis-Centura Health, and the city of Colorado Springs. This is one of the five projects in the City of Champions initiative for which funding was provided for projects that would boost the local economy from outside the region. Not only does this boost impact Colorado Springs, but also it benefits all of Colorado.

In describing how the building came together, Matt Vineyard, JE Dunn senior project manager, recalled the pride the team took in working together on this important project. “The entire team made sure to understand early on the project purpose and what it intended to deliver to the city and stakeholders involved.”

Additionally, he noted, “What makes this project unique is to have undergraduate and graduate-level research occur in the same building at the same time as an operational leading-edge professional sports performance clinic.”

The William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center provides real-world solutions, promoting the concept of “exercise as medicine,” helping patients with diseases ranging from diabetes to cancer. Athletes, police, firemen, para-Olympians and countless others will benefit from this center for professional sports medicine and advancement.

As time goes on, this building will serve as a leading example in showcasing the combined efforts of UCCS and Penrose-St. Francis-Centura Health in proving that we can work smarter, not harder.

Published in the September 2020 issue of Building Dialogue.