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April 26, 2015

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Taking a tour of Gorman’s new athletic training center

Arbor View and Del Sol highs also enjoying the benefits of moving into a weight training facility


Leila Navidi

The new Fertitta Athletic Training Center at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas on Thursday, August 2, 2012.

Fertitta Athletic Training Center

The new Fertitta Athletic Training Center at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas on Thursday, August 2, 2012. Launch slideshow »

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Bishop Gorman High School incoming senior football player Jake Smirk remembers pausing in amazement when he first walked into the school’s new state-of-the-art athletic training center.

He’s not the only one.

The 41,324-square-foot Fertitta Athletic Training Center, which opened last month, is more than a weight-training area. And it’s going to be used by more than the Gaels’ nationally ranked and three-time defending state champion football team.

The center has all of the bells and whistles you’d expect in a modern facility. It includes a four-lane, 60-yard track, a 90-seat classroom designed for film study and teacher training, and an athletic training room with a 4-foot hydrotherapy pool and 50-degree ice bath.

And that’s just on the first floor.

The two-level center’s second floor is mostly space for banquets or pregame meals and to store championship trophies. This summer, it is being used by the Gorman cheerleading team, which previously had no permanent practice space. The balcony has a perfect view of the field — and the Strip — and will be used by the team’s videographer to record game film.

On the outside, there is a sand volleyball court and about a 30-yard turf field complete with hash marks.

School officials, in honoring the request of donors, aren’t releasing details of the donation that completely funded the project.

“I was completely amazed. Stunned and speechless,” Smirk said. “I’m so thankful for everyone who made this possible. I’m so glad we have it to get better.”

Gorman isn’t the only local high school that recently moved into an upgraded facility. Although the new spaces at Arbor View and Del Sol highs don’t equal Gorman’s project, coaches at those schools echo the comments of Gorman coaches: It gives players a sense of pride, especially during offseason conditioning.

Arbor View’s new 3,500-square-foot weight room is filled with custom weights and racks with the school’s colors and logo. Most of the equipment is new.

“We sold a lot of hot chocolate during cold November games for this,” Arbor View coach Dan Barnson said. “This wasn’t a one-year thing. Over the years, we put money aside, saving and saving and saving. The end result was awesome. We couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Gorman coach Tony Sanchez feels the same way about his facility. Sanchez, who had a big hand in the design, is especially proud of how the center honors Gorman’s history.

In the entrance, there’s a framed black-and-white photo of Gorman’s original campus when it opened in 1954 on Maryland Parkway between Sahara Avenue and Charleston Boulevard. Gorman moved to Summerlin in 2007.

“This is where we came from, 1954 to 2007,” Sanchez said, pointing to the photo. “All of the people who came through Gorman and did so much and gave so much for these kids to have the opportunity for a first-class education and athletic experience; we won’t forget that.”

Throughout the center, there are several portraits of Gorman players in uniform, and each is wearing jersey No. 54. The Gorman ‘G’ is visible at every turn, including the ceiling in virtually every room, the locker room and at the bottom of the training room spa.

Click to enlarge photo

The new Fertitta Athletic Training Center at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas on Thursday, August 2, 2012.

The first floor includes an 11,470-square-foot weight-training area, an office and work area for the coaches, and a state-of-the-art locker room. Each football player has his own locker stall, which includes his photo, an electronic pass-code lock box, a folding chair with the Gorman logo and space to hang gear. It resembles what you’d see in college and is better than what UNLV has.

On game days, players will walk from the locker room near the back of the facility, touch a bronze "G" for inspiration and head onto the field. Above the glass doors leading to the field is a sign reading “Play Like a Champion Today,” borrowing a line from Notre Dame.

“We have been successful as of late with a smaller weight room than most (schools) have,” Sanchez said. “Our weight room was smaller than Palo Verde’s and Arbor View’s, and we didn’t have any lack of success.

“What this has done is give us an opportunity to get more programs in at the same time so there is no strain on facilities. This is great and it is outstanding as long as we don’t forget who we are and where we came from.”

The facility's uses go beyond football. The girls volleyball team has lifted multiple times each week this summer, conferences and training for teachers frequently will occupy the classroom, and every athletic program and weight-training class will use the three-table training room and equipment.

Gorman’s football opener is Aug. 24 against Our Lady of Good Counsel of Maryland on ESPN, and the football team isn’t the only group preparing.

“For the past four years, it has been cheer kind of goes where no one else would,” said Maryelizabeth O’Donnell, a senior cheerleader. “We would have to bring our mats from the locker room to a foyer by the theater and be in everyone else’s way because there was no place to practice. We called it the echo room. Having a place where we can get work done and not bug people is amazing.”

That’s what the athletes at Del Sol are saying after moving into their new 4,500-square-foot weight room. The room includes five new double racks, plus new weights and other equipment. Like Gorman, the equipment is customized with Del Sol colors.

“It helps extend the importance of weight lifting in athletics,” Del Sol coach Preston Goroff said. “They see how important it is. (The new area) just gives them a little more sense of pride.”

Click to enlarge photo

Arbor View head football coach Dan Barnson talks in the school's new weight room Wednesday, April 18, 2012.

At Arbor View, Barnson said improvement in the weight room has transformed the team. The Aggies have a 19-5 record over the past two years and reached the Sunset Regional semifinals both seasons.

During the school’s second year in 2006, Barnson had a goal of 40 players lifting more than 225 pounds in the power clean. Only two were capable. Two years ago, when the Aggies made the playoffs for the first time, 41 players accomplished the goal.

This year, with momentum from getting the new facility and the strength his players already have, Barnson increased the power-clean mark to 250 pounds — a similar philosophy Las Vegas High used during its dominating seasons starting about a decade ago.

On the wall of the facility is a board tracking which players have accomplished weight-lifting feats.

“It is what we demand if you want to be part of this program,” Barnson said. “If you want to play for us, you have to lift weights. We just don’t hand out a workout and say, ‘Go do it.’ It’s always a whistle system, and the kids are into their lifts.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at

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  1. It truly is an amazing facility! I'm very proud to see all of the history as well as the state of the art equipment and design. Go Gaels!

  2. Another reason why private schools should not be competing with public schools in sports. There are enough private schools to have their own league.

  3. I'd work an extra job to send my kid to school there instead of the public system here in Las Vegas.

  4. A very nice facility but this is where I see amateur being replaced by semi-pro. Is this a much needed thing for a high school? How many of the students are actually going to be able to use the facility? Does this send the right message to kids?

    I think athletics can be excellant part of the education experience but I think this is going too far.

    I'm of the mind that college football and basketball needs to be turned into semi-pro status. The programs would just be sponsored by the school but separate and run like a business. When you can pack a 100,000 people in a college stadium it has ceased being amateur a long time ago.

  5. Gang: My apologies to Liberty baseball for not covering the Legion title game. But if I was there, and if Gorman would have won, then you would have called me out for only covering Gorman baseball and not the public schools. I totally understand everyone's complaints about not covering the public schools on a more consistent basis. At the same time, it's tough to ignore a school with three nationally ranked teams. Hopefully, when the many public school profiles start coming around later this month, you guys can equally enjoy the coverage. We have some good stories budgeted for the high school football season. Thanks for reading.

  6. I'm looking forward to the Palo game, too. Saw their new uniforms today and they are absolutely SICK. Put a photo on my Twitter feed @raybrewer21. Some quality teams at Palo, Liberty, Arbor View and Centennial. Everyone also know I love Del Sol, and I think they are going to get some redemption this year. And, we haven't mentioned Vegas once. The 'Cats sophomore QB going to have the same impact Drew Doxtator did last year at Foothill.

  7. I love the Gorman only makes our team hit harder, run faster, and score more points! LMAO at all of the public school parents who'd rather spend money on their cars and lifestyle than send their kids to a private school.....we put our life on hold to send our kid to private school.....drove our cars to 200k+ miles and lived without any of the "extras" in our lives. It's paid off in spades and our kid didn't get a scholarship.....he earned it and worked hard at school and in sports. He learned a lot of great life's funny to read how many people are jealous of hard what if a bunch of billionaires want to help out their kid's school by donating a state of the art facility? Jealous? Yep, thought so.....


  8. Sorry Sinatra. To call out other parents for not putting their whole heart into a childs' athletics is shameful. I just spent the entire summer driving to and from Las Vegas for my sons Legion Baseball program. In all, for two months I traveled over 3000 miles to make my son a better player and I drive a 1994 car with over 200,000 miles on it. You say that you scraping by just so your kid can play at Gorman? Oh Please. Not once have I seen a car under the year of 2004 in the parking lots. Do you think you paid for that new weight room? Don't think so, the Corporate big wigs that built your football field and everything else there paid for that. I would rather be a proud PUBLIC SCHOOL PARENT thank you very much.

  9. Also, Congratulations do go out to Gold Division Liberty! Great job and so glad you have the opportunity to shine for the State of Nevada!

  10. Wow! This is better than most small colleges. My problem is this, how can anyone here in Nevada compete on a regular basis with this. Football is different from baseball. A good pitcher can get hot and can beat anyone. In football , being strong and having speed play a big fact.Gormanhomer said anyone can flip a tire and work hard. You are absolutely correct, but what kid who is good enough for college is going to go flip a tire when they can go to Gorman. Its the recruiting factor. I am not bashing Gorman ,the kids, parents or coaches. But its like comparing USC to UNLV. When a kid see the facities at USC then at UNLV 98% will go to USC. the other 2% just love UNLV or cant get in USC. Gorman should be playing with other schools like them. When they played Sevite from California, it was a great game. Those are the schools they should be playing. Also Sanchez is a great coach but, look at the kids he gets compared to the kids the other school gets, I don't care if you had NFL coaches on the sidelines, they would not beat Gorman. You need good players to be a good team. When you can get the pick of the Valley every year, you can win state by 20, 30, 40 points, that's not competition, that's just nuts.

  11. Definitely looking forward to getting the 2012 Season underway...
    Hey Ray, when will you start previewing the Season, so there is so much more to read and talk about than BG.
    How is everyone at the newly realigned Divison I-A feeling about that League.
    Nice to have an ACTUAL League,.... the previous Southern 3A, consisting of THREE teams, did NOT make a League...
    Let the Season Previews Begin...

  12. grayghost let me clear a few things up. I'm not saying that they dont coach well or work hard. I see those kids I know they work hard, you cant get that strong watching TV. What I'm saying is they have an upper tier program that should be playing other upper tier programs. Also the freshman classes at palo, arbor, liberty, las vegas were not as good. Also the kids that left were not starters.I am not angry that they spent money on their program, look at Texas there are at least 10 high school stadiums that seat more than 16,000.If I had the money I would do it for my high school. I believe Gorman should be playing with those teams. They have teams like them in California they should be playing.I want them to win every game they play outside of Nevada, I believe we all do. But we dont have a 5A in Nevada, they should be in 5A

  13. For those of you who dont follow the high school football very close, the new division is called 4AA or division1A. I have seen both. There will be a state champion of this division as well. This makes this year extra exciting. My predictions, The traditional powers will still be powers, Gorman, Palo Arbor, Liberty. But question about Las Vegas (new QB),Canyon Springs (step up in competition) and foothill who lost some key players. If new comers step up these question schools could make a real run for it. My sleeper is Vally.

  14. Division 1A Cheyenne, Desert Pines,and Moapa Valley
    are the favorites. My sleepers are Boulder City(yes boulder city)bring back a hungry bunch that believes they can win, and Mojave (yes Mojave) young but talented. I also like what they are doing at Faith, dont sleep on them. Everyone in this divsion feels they have a crack at State.Does anyone see anything different.

  15. As far as the facility goes - it is a MAJOR wow. It still takes athletes showing up and training to make all of this matter.
    Congrats to Liberty, finally a program on the East Side that is putting things together across the board. I run into several Coronado Football Players who are eating chilli dogs, cones, ice cream sundaes and slurpees after practice - it would not matter if Coronado had these facilities if Coaches are not more aware of nutrition. Wealthy area that can not get Coaches? Why would you not consider Gorman with this track record or another school with the success at Coronado both in record and kids getting scholarships?

    Making UNLV Athletics better through building them a facility like this. Basketball has had this support. Football on the other hand - lets speak to the loyalty shown with this program.

    When Durango has a RB who accepts a Utah scholarship and does not list UNLV as a school providing him an offer - that smells of Mike Sanford. Devonte Christopher of Canyon Springs could have been at UNLV. The Coaches said you need to be a DB, instead of listening to the kid who wanted a shot at QB. Utah signed him, gave him a chance to compete - he lost and then was given the chance to play WR where he could get time. UNLV had a kid in their backyard, who they could have had - but was stubborn about not letting the kid compete against others on their squad.
    Coaching Staff - Anyone with UNLV connections on Staff or with significant NFL experience? NO. Where is Hunkie or any former Rebel on Staff - like what Stacy Augman has done for hoops? Loyalty for UNLV Alums? Why should UNLV ask for $$ from Alums to upgrade to Gorman's level when they dont hire UNLV Alums to lead the program - from Coaches, Broadcasters or Athletic Department leaders? Gorman should be praised for listening to their Alums who give back to a school that gives back due to going to Gorman. Same should be said for any LV area school who does the same.

    Lets talk about those who get paid to be the public voices of the program - in football - NONE with a UNLV Degree. Dave McCann is involved with BYU Alumni Association as President, yet takes his paycheck with UNLV and just sends it to our rival?

    John Sandler - No UNLV Degree, no experience with football
    Mike Pritchard - No UNLV Degree
    Now Russ Langer - Baseball guy, with no UNLV Degree.

    Where is the Alumni? Would Auburn hire an Alabama Grad to do their games? Or would USC hire a UCLA Alum. No one would. Politics not a UNLV degree is what is being considered. UNLV has a communications degree, but none have been hired?

    Vegas has the players, UNLV has not recruited them or shows up too late. Show them that Alums are taken care of once they graduate that also might be a big help. What does it tell Alums or potential players when the football program has not one connected to the program with a UNLV degree? Frankly not much.

  16. Tuasdad, Agreed. Call it Division II.

    Up North, although it is obviously very early, the top 3 teams in Div. IA should still be Truckee, Fallon and Lowry.
    The RGJ will come out with their first Football Preview article on 8/9. That should start to lay out the landscape for Division I.