Alumnus: New facility a ‘rallying point’

Construction work continues to ready sports medicine for opening. Rachel Taylor/ The Collegian
Construction work continues to ready sports medicine for opening. Rachel Taylor/ The Collegian

Construction work continues to ready sports medicine for opening.  Rachel Taylor/ The Collegian

Fresno State alumnus and local farmer Marvin Meyers said the Meyers Family Sports Medicine Center began as a simple idea at a Fresno State football game—now, the center is becoming a reality.

Workers put the final touches on the center this week, and Director of Athletics Thomas Boeh said the 10,726-square-foot-building should be open to students by the end of next week.

The major capital project—which had a total project cost of $6.7 million—was entirely funded by donors, with the largest donator being the Meyers family.

Meyers, who graduated from Fresno State in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, has owned and operated Meyers Farming I-IV, Oxford Farms, Inc., and the Meyers Farm Family Trust, which he runs along with his son, Gregory Meyers, and his daughter, Brooke Meyers-Hamilton.

The Fresno State Alumni Association presented Meyers with a Top Dog Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2012 for his service to the university and the San Joaquin Valley.

Meyers said he believes funding the center was the right thing to do.

“We made the right decision because it is going to be so great for everybody,” Meyers said. “I am really dedicated to Fresno State athletics and the whole campus.

“In my Top Dog speech, I told them I want Fresno State to be known throughout the United States as top athletically and academically—and we’re doing it. Fresno State is doing that, so I’m excited.”

In addition to farming pistachios and olives in Mendota, Calif., Meyers also established an innovative water-banking project along the Fresno Slough, a water distributary of the Kings River in Mendota, that became the home to an abundance of wildlife after the Mendota Pool overflowed in the 1990s.

The project, now known as the Meyers Water Bank and Wildlife Project, is used as an educational resource for students from kindergarten through high school in the San Joaquin Valley to learn about wildlife and water conservation.

Meyers said he designed the plaza that will sit in front of the new sports medicine center. The plaza will feature a large bronze bulldog statue designed by sculptor Jean Carter, tables for the student athletes and trees.

“It’s going to be a rallying point where people can come and talk,” Meyers said of the bulldog statue. “The kids can stand around it, sit on it, or do whatever they want—it’s going to be beautiful.”

Meyers said the state-of-the-art center will help Fresno State’s future recruiting efforts for all sports.

“When parents come with a potential athlete, they’re going to say, ‘Wow, these people really do care about my son or daughter,’” Meyers said. “It’s going to offer everything. I can’t wait for it to be in action.”

Meyers said everybody thinks the center is “pretty neat,” and that all of the student athletes are overwhelmed and can’t wait to use it.

“The girls and boys are just excited about it because it’s a place to get your body back,” Meyers said. “If you have cramps or you have a problem, you can work it out right here in your backyard.”

Meyers said he encourages other Fresno State alumni to “step up to the plate and get involved” on campus.

“It’s time for us old guys to step up and help the youth get through their struggles because we’re the ones that will help support them,” Meyers said. “I’m a giver, not a taker. The medicine center will be here for a long time. It will assist all the athletes, whatever they do. I don’t expect applause; I don’t expect anything—I’m just glad it’s here. Now, what’s next?”

Boeh said the center would not exist without the help of all the benefactors.

Additional donators include Steve Moore, Melinda and Herb Depp, Brian and Rosie Panish, Dr. Eric and Darlene Hanson, Jeff Thiesen and Lance Dueker, Physicians Surgery Centers, Chris Pacheco and Kevin Sweeney, Morse Wittwer Sampson, LLP, Nykel Bam International, LLP, and Leo Weiland, Rod Stubblefield and Curtis Stubblefield.

“We are extremely grateful to the Meyers family and all the generous benefactors that have made this critically important project possible,” Boeh said. “The completion of the Meyers center and student-athlete village will provide a tremendous positive impact on the daily lives of all Bulldog student athletes as they take on the rigorous challenge of achieving academically while competing athletically at the NCAA Division I level.

“It will also likely enhance our coaches’ recruiting efforts as the addition of a state-of-the-art sports medicine facility serves as physical symbol of Fresno State’s strong commitment to the continued good health and welfare of our student athletes.”

Brooke Ortiz, a senior in interior design and a Fresno State softball player, said she believes the center will function as a bonding area where all student athletes can come together and communicate in order to keep the entire athletic department “close-knit like a family.”

Ortiz, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in February during a game, said she’s also excited to test all of the equipment in the center while she continues her rehabilitation treatment for the next five weeks.

“It think it’s cool how they’re going to have so many new aspects to the building, like underwater treadmills and all this crazy stuff that can benefit us,” Ortiz said. “The biggest thing for me that I was really excited about was the underwater treadmill. I just can’t imagine that. I think it’s so cool.”

Director of Sports Medicine Kelli Eberlein said the old sports medicine facility inside the Duncan Building was built along the lines of “passive treatment,” while the new center will focus on active treatment.

“In today’s sports medicine world, it’s very functional,” Eberlein said. “You need room to roll around, jump on things and pull cables, so we needed to create an open space for that.”

She said the old facility had space for about 10 to 12 student athletes, but the room was cramped to the point where no one could walk around without athletes having to stop their activity to let someone pass.

“We have all these fancy machines, but honestly, space will be our most valuable modality in that new facility,” Eberlein said.

Eberlein said some of those “fancy machines” include height tables for treatments, various cardio equipment, wall-mounted shoulder maintenance systems, a concussion balance evaluation machine, 10 Game Ready cold compression units, a TRUE Stretch station and VersaClimber, an on-site X-ray machine, a student-athlete lounge and plenty of space to bring the sports medicine staff together.

“For years we’ve been split between the North Gym and Duncan, so to have all of our clinicians together is huge,” Eberlein said.

The center will also feature a cold-plunge pool, a warm-plunge pool and a rehabilitation pool with an underwater treadmill.

Eberlein said students had to manually chill the old cold-plunge pool—which could only fit a handful of student athletes—with about 30 bags of ice every three hours, which makes the new pool more convenient.

“You can get a whole team in there at one time, and it stays at a constant 52 to 55 degrees,” Eberlein said. “So that means a whole team can come in after practice and be done in 15 minutes as opposed to going in four at a time—it’s huge.”
Boeh said the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center will be held on Sept. 20 at 2 p.m. before the Boise State game.

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