The University of Cincinnati is gearing up for the 2022 football season and for its upcoming move to the Big 12 Conference.
The university on Wednesday unveiled its newly renovated game day football locker room, a part of the school's first wave of facility upgrades ahead of its July 1, 2023, move from the American Athletic Conference to the Big 12 Conference.
More: Video of UC's new football locker Video of UC's new football locker
“This was such an important piece for our football program,” UC Director of Athletics John Cunningham said. “It’s a reflection of where our football program currently is, which is a top-20 program in the country. This is the type of facility that we need to compete Day 1 in the Big 12.”
The newly renovated locker room, located inside the Richard E. Lindner Center on UC’s main campus, features an additional 2,000 square feet of space, a new sound system, a fuel station and nutrition bar, and a hype tunnel that leads to Nippert Stadium.
The $4 million face-lift also includes an enhanced ventilation system, 120 custom lockers with each player’s name and number, and graphics and images that highlight many of the standout performers from last season’s team that reached the College Football Playoff.
The project, which also included a renovation of the Bob Goin football team room, was paid for entirely by the university’s Day One Ready Campaign, a $100 million fundraising effort.
Skanska USA served as the construction manager for the renovation. Skanska senior project engineer Zack Tobler, who played basketball for the Bearcats from 2013-17, oversaw much of the project. Tobler, whose father, Matt, owns a construction company, followed in his father’s footsteps after graduating from UC with an accounting degree.
“I’ve been in the student-athletes' shoes, so I know what they’re going through,” Tobler said. “I like to be able to give back to them in any way I can. It’s not as much monetary right now, but time and everything. So, I think it was really cool for me to be able to try to give back at least a little bit to them.”
Luke Fickell and the two-time defending AAC champion Bearcats will officially christen their new game day space when they host Kennesaw State on Sept. 10. Cincinnati, which is ranked No. 23 in the preseason AP Top 25 poll, opens its 2022 season Sept. 3 at No. 19 Arkansas.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Cincinnati football: Bearcats unveil new game day locker room