Vanderbilt believes indoor facility fits perfectly with heightened expectations

Given its school colors, it makes sense that Vanderbilt has adopted a Goldilocks approach to its athletic facilities. Not too hard. Not too soft. Just right.

“We’re not trying to match [other Southeastern Conference members] brick for brick or size for size of building for building,” athletics director David Williams said Tuesday. “But we are trying to do what we need to do to be competitive and to be competing for championships.”

Williams can sleep a little easier now that the newest structure, a 180,000 square foot addition to the student recreation center at a cost of $31 million and available to the football and track and field programs above all others.

The university dedicated the facility, which includes a 120-yard football field and a six-lane, 300-yard track Tuesday morning. Other facets, including a state-of-the-art four-lane bowling center, a basketball court, two volleyball courts and an expanded weight room, will be completed within the next 60 days.

“It’s great for all of the coaches,” football coach James Franklin said. “It’s great for the administrators. It’s a testimony that when we all come together … that we can do something really special. That’s what I think this is.

“…Building a program is every aspect. It’s developing the players. It’s getting to have the highest graduation rates in the country. It’s first-class facilities. It’s everything. … To compete in the SEC you have to have every piece of it.”

Vanderbilt might not have all of them yet but this is a significant step in that direction.

“I’m the first to admit that as we started to reach for that level of excellence in everything there were a number of things we were behind in,” Williams said. “One of them was some of the facilities. There’s a point in time when you say, ‘Woe is me.’ And there’s a point in time when you say, “Let me go on and catch up.’”

That doesn’t necessarily mean you match up.