New athletic training facility in Colorado Springs runs on 'Division I' mentality

By: Suzanne Evans,
July 24, 2013 Updated: July 25, 2013 at 2:45 pm
photo - D1 and other companies are now moving into the newly remodeled Mr. Biggs building. Mark Reis, The Gazette
D1 and other companies are now moving into the newly remodeled Mr. Biggs building. Mark Reis, The Gazette 

A chain of athletic training facilities that has some of the biggest names in professional sports as partners will open a location in Colorado Springs on Monday, albeit without a star behind it - at least not yet.

D1 Sports, based in Franklin, Tenn., has partnered with Front Range Orthopaedics in the local venture, which will operate in about 18,000 square feet of space in the former Mr. Biggs Family Fun Center building on Mark Dabling Boulevard.

"They find orthopedic companies in cities all over the country to partner with," said Marquesa Hobbs, director of marketing at Front Range Orthopaedics. "It was a big honor to be the orthopedic group in town that was selected to work with them."

Front Range Orthopaedics, which works with sports-related injuries, will have a clinic in the D1 space.

"We will do some partnering as far as education events, and then when injury does happen, because it does, we can work closely with them in rehabilitative programs," Hobbs said.

But D1 is as much about sports and strength training as it is about therapy. D1-which stands for "Division I"- is geared toward providing a professional training experience by replicating college and professional training environments and facilities.

"We have that mentality that everyone that walks through our doors, we train them like a Division I athlete," said Rickel.

The company offers programs for kids, divided by age groups, with a curriculum to develop strength, power, speed and agility. There's also a boot camp and training programs for adults and college athletes.

Still, people don't need to be Olympics caliber to use the facilities.

"It's not like you have to be an athlete to come train here," said Stefanie Metcalf, facility coordinator for D1. "Having a different type of functional fitness workout can actually help you even more in trying to reach your fitness goals."

Classes are small and taught by local coaches with extensive certifications and sports backgrounds.

Most of D1's 20 facilities have professional athlete co-owners. Peyton Manning co-owns the three original D1 locations in Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Nashville, Tenn. Tim Tebow co-owns locations in Savannah, Ga., and Tampa and Orlando, Fla.

The Colorado Springs location does not yet have a pro athlete co-owner, but Ron Rickel, D1's vice president of sales and marketing, said he expects one to come on board soon.

"Once a pro athlete is confirmed and announced, we will hold a special event where the pro athlete serves as a D1 coach, running our scholastic athletes and adults through training drills, giving them a pep talk about hard work, doing the right thing," Rickel said in an email.

He added that he doesn't think a facility needs the local pro to be successful.

"While it is a positive benefit to open a new facility with a pro athlete co-owner, we do not see it as a severe disadvantage or failure if we do not," he said.

D1 has been constantly expanding since starting in the early 2000s. Last year, the company opened six locations across the country. The Colorado Springs location is the company's first in the Rocky Mountain region, and adds to the city's growing sports economy.

It also helps Bigg City Holdings fill part of a space that was vacated last year when Mr. Biggs Family Fun Center closed in April 2012. The building is also being leased to Freedom Ministries, Stellar Restaurant Solutions, the Macalan Group, and PeakView Leasing..

Jim Fenlason, CEO of Bigg City Holdings, which has owned the building since 2004, said he believes that leasing the space to more companies will be good for the job market in Colorado Springs.

"I think any time we can have jobs in the community that stimulate our local economy and provide a good base of employment for very qualified employees that love to live and work here like we do, I think it's a great impact," said Fenlason.

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