Building a Next-Gen Training Facility

In this ALSD Member Highlight, meet David Painter, Director of Basketball Facilities for the Orlando Magic.

The Orlando Magic are building a new $70 million, 130,000-square-foot practice and training home for the NBA team. The state-of-the-art AdventHealth Training Center is rising out of downtown Orlando one block from Amway Center, which houses the Magic’s current training hub. To help manage the project, the Magic have turned to David Painter, Director of Basketball Facilities, who has previously overseen NBA-leading player accommodations for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks.

The Magic’s new facility goes beyond modern player amenities and equipment, with health and wellness at the fore with features like permanent UV-C light fixtures and strategic layouts encouraging interactions between players and performance specialists on staff. It is a holistic setup designed to promote safety and health – mental and physical – while training and recovering at the highest levels to ultimately optimize results on the court.

“We want to put the best possible product on the floor,” Painter says. “That’s our ‘why’. And my job, from a health perspective and a training perspective, is to make sure that’s possible.”

The ALSD recently caught up with David Painter to explore the upcoming AdventHealth Training Center. The following transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

What design features of the AdventHealth Training Center are improved from the current training site?

The first thing is natural light, which improves mental health for players and staff. Most practice courts built in arenas typically do not allow a lot of natural light. You don’t know if there’s sun, rain, or snow outside. You’re totally cut off from the world. And mentally, that drains you over the course of a long season. Guys burn out. You need to change their environments to help them from a mental standpoint.

The other thing is space. We’ve opened it up and given people space. How can we expect guys to be comfortable, want to stay and get those extra workouts together, and eat properly if they don’t have the proper space? Mentally, that drives you out too.

We also look at colors. We want our guys thinking permanence, not flash. We want to change that thinking and the subtleties in how we market the Magic to our guys throughout the building. It’s very clean with a lot of natural wood and bright whites with darker trim. And so, you get a classic, stately residence feel, but updated. The woods bring out a warmth and the sense that you’re not just at a gym.

We are also designing forced interactions. I want our players consistently talking to people like our director of performance. And as we laid out the building, we considered those forced interactions, where you can’t get to the court without walking past this office, or you can’t get to the weight room without walking through this space. It’s intentional, again because of mental health and looking at the whole body.

From a training perspective, I don’t want our guys to ever have to leave. We put in indoor running ramps. We put in altitude chambers. We have indoor and outdoor turf that we can use. We have a running track. We have cryotherapy. From a rehab standpoint, from a preseason standpoint, from a maintenance standpoint during the season and post-season recovery, we tried to encapsulate everything they would ever need in one place, in addition to the medical component where our team doctors are right there for immediate feedback.

What has your organization started doing in the past 12 months due to the pandemic?

The protocols put in place were extensive. We have been following league direction from the very beginning, and I appreciate [NBA Commissioner] Adam Silver more than I can express.

Electrostatic spraying is standard now as part of the disinfection process, in addition to our normal housekeeping staff who is also using quat 4-to-5-level, hospital-grade cleaning supplies. If there’s something missed, we’re coming back multiple times a week with an electrostatic spray overnight, and our UV-C lighting happens every night. We’ve layered it and covered all aspects.

We even got each player an individual UV light for travel. It’s about the size of an alarm clock. Everybody in our travel party has one of them in each hotel room.

We’ve also started putting OxiClean in every load of laundry – in every uniform, in every towel – because the chemicals are known to kill covid.

Understanding that you can spray something and wipe it down, but that doesn’t mean it’s clean, was a huge process, even for our cleaning staffs. There’s a dwell time [before it’s disinfected]. It could be one minute. It could be five minutes depending on what you’re using. Our players needed to understand that just because you saw somebody wipe it down, you need to wait five minutes before you go in and eat or hit that float tub.

We also have a different cooling system here and different air transfer rate because we have warm weather, so our air exchange is a lot faster than a lot of places. The big thing is air exchange – how fast you can get the air that’s in there out and fresh air in and to temp to be comfortable. That was the biggest challenge for arenas. We were on an eight-hour exchange and cut that to four hours.

What has your organization continued doing in the past 12 months through the pandemic?

We were one of the first teams to integrate UV lighting. We don’t use the portable systems like some other teams. We have them built in as light fixtures. Very similar to most hospitals, we were already sanitizing locker rooms, training rooms, equipment rooms, and the court. In the new training facility, we are integrating close to $400,000 of UV lighting to make sure that our guys are protected, and we’re layering our cleaning approach.

Learn More at ALSD 2021: Plan to attend the 8th Annual Sports Venue Design & Build Forum, held in conjunction with the 31st Annual ALSD Conference and Tradeshow, to participate in sessions such as “What to Consider When Investing in a Training Center”.