New look downstairs at 49ers’ practice facility

When the 49ers opened the Marie P. DeBartolo Sports Centre, it was considered the best training complex in the NFL.

The 49ers moved from their inadequate offices and practice facility in Redwood City to the 11-acre site in Santa Clara in 1988. But in the past two decades, most NFL teams have upgraded their facilities to surpass the 49ers in this regard.


In one of team president Jed York’s first projects, the 49ers this offseason have improved the player amenities – with more upgrades planned for their ground-level working area in the coming months.


“Jed is focused on improving the players’ environment,” said Keena Turner, the team’s vice president of football affairs.


During the 49ers’ minicamp a couple weeks ago, I was speaking with tight end Delanie Walker about the hill on the north side of the complex that has been built for training purposes.


“It’s all about trying to get better,” Walker said. “That’s why we have a new coach, new equipment and the hill.”


Walker said most of the players have remained during the offseason to continue to use the 49ers’ weight room and workout facilities.


“Why go home and work out in a gym when the best gym you could have is right here?” Walker said. “The old stuff was good enough, but putting in new equipment gives you motivation to work even harder. It shows everybody is serious about getting better.”


The weight room has new racks and the equipment has been re-organized. The locker room has been moved back about 30 feet to accommodate the expanded weight room and new offices for strength and conditioning coach Duane Carlisle and his staff. Now, there is room devoted entirely to cardio machines, including four treadmills, as well as elliptical, cycle and stair machines.


In addition, the meeting rooms for the offensive and defensive lines have been expanded. The running backs and defensive line switched rooms. Because there are more offensive and defensive linemen – and those individuals tend to be a little bigger – walls were knocked down to enable those rooms to pick up some added square footage.


The next phase of the remodel is a plan to add onto the locker room to compensate for the space lost with the expansion of the weight room. The locker room should be completed by the end of training camp, Turner said.


A new players’ lounge and kitchen are also being planned.


When the multi-million-dollar project is completed, the building will expand from approximately 45,000 to 54,000 square feet, according to the 49ers.


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In a move of great personal significance, the 49ers have hired Bob Lange as director of football public relations. Lange comes to the 49ers after spending the past eight years with the Philadelphia Eagles as assistant director of football media services. Bob, welcome to the Bay Area (where Santa Claus is cheered).


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