There’s something surreal about pole vaulting. Those who compete in the event seem to defy gravity when they run full-steam ahead with a long pole, fork it into the ground and propel themselves over a bar many feet in the air, only to plummet back to earth an instant later. The sport is more than a little daunting, and you need a huge area to practice year round. Only a steel athletic facility could accommodate such needs.
This leads SteelMaster to believe there is something special about 149 River Road in Norman, Arkansas. This address is the home of Arkansas Vault Club and the site of the club’s 60’ x 170’ SteelMaster athletic facility.
Coaches Morry Sanders and Steve Irwin started Arkansas Vault Club (AVC) in 1999. The club met and held practices outdoors until 2008, when they opened the doors to their SteelMaster building, which helped launch them (pun intended) into a club nationally recognized for cranking out champions in the sport of pole vaulting.
“Our building really has been a huge advantage when it comes to training our kids. I can’t say enough good things about SteelMaster and their technicians that helped direct us when we constructed it,” Morry says. “I shopped every company in the U.S. when I was researching my idea and SteelMaster actually gave me the best deal out there.”
Even though AVC holds records in the Men’s Indoor Vault at 18’ 7.5”, and the leading Women’s Record at 15’ 1”, not one of their vaulters has come close to crashing into their steel athletic facility. The arched roof allows for plenty of clearance while giving vaulters a sense of peripheral dimension and added depth perception so as not to psychologically impede their efforts.
AVC’s building provides its athletes plenty of space to practice their event, but there are many other ways the club’s SteelMaster building has served it well:
- SteelMaster buildings do not have beams, load-bearing dividers or trusses inside to get in the way of athletes.
- SteelMaster athletic facilities make day and evening training, as well as year-round practice, possible.
- The buildings can be insulated with spray foam or blanket insulation. If it’s a little too warm inside, simply open the doors.
- No “routine building maintenance” is necessary, so there is never a need to pause business operations or sports practices.
- SteelMaster means safe, secure and private practice facilities where students can soar as high as their dreams (or poles) will take them.
By far the biggest benefit has been eliminating the need to cancel practice due to inclement weather, according to Morry.
“Our facility is a long way from everywhere and it comforts people to know that, no matter the weather, we’re still going to practice,” he says. “Our number of athletes has quadrupled since opening our SteelMaster building.” Morry adds, “I get several inquiries a year about our building from people all over the country. Most of them have the same interest as we do, but some are looking to build other sporting facilities. I can tell you that I’m glad I followed through with my vision.”
Tammy is a freelance writer and resides in Hampton Roads, Virginia.