ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **The Broncos' cozy new winter home is ready just in time for the snowy season.
Winter is coming to Dove Valley, making the finish of the brand new indoor facility particularly timely.
The 115,000-square-foot facility, including an 85,000-square-foot field house, could have been ready for practices last week leading up to the Week 10 game with the Raiders, if weather had deemed that necessary.
Instead the temperatures stayed up in the 60s during the week. But just a day into Week 11 and it seems the Broncos will have reason to put the new venue to use. A Monday snowstorm coated Dove Valley in white, and the forecast doesn't suggest it's likely to warm up in the near future.
"For the cold weather, I think it's going to time up really well," Head Coach John Fox said Monday. "We are real thankful of [Owner] Mr. [Pat] Bowlen and the organization going through the expense of adding that. It looks like we're going to be using it pretty soon."
Not only will the building offer shelter from the elements, but it presents the opportunity to simulate the indoor environment that they'll see in St. Louis this weekend in the Edward Jones Dome.
"This building and some renovations over across the way have been in the works for several years, and to culminate this is incredible timing this week," President and CEO Joe Ellis said Tuesday when the building was opened to the media for a tour. "Given that we're playing in a dome and the weather is not going to be very good here, I think you'll see us in this building tomorrow and Thursday. I can't say that for sure, that's the coach's decision. But I would guess given the climate and given what we're going into on Sunday, we'll utilize this right away."
In inclement weather in recent years, the Broncos practiced in a small weather bubble, which created limitations due to a lack of space.
No such limitations exist in the new building, which features a 68-foot center ceiling (high enough for live punt drills with a jugs machine, although Britton Colquitt may hit the ceiling with some actual punts), a 25-foot runout space with wall pads on all four sides of the field for optimal safety, as well as regulation-sized goal posts.
"Our owner always has great instincts and great vision and there's no question Pat Bowlen, when he looked at this, he said, 'Make sure you do this the right way, and you don't leave anything behind that you're going to have to put in later,'" Ellis said. "And I think when you see this, you'll see all the facilities that we've put in here: Facilities for the media, a new and bigger team store, locker rooms and meeting rooms for an opposing team if we host a team here in training camp which in the future we'll obviously do more of, and we're looking forward to that."
Take a look inside the Broncos' new fieldhouse.
On top of hosting teams in future training camps, the new facility will offer fans a tremendously improved training camp experience for fans. The grass berm that previously could fit about 2,000 people in a cramped space is now estimated to be suitable for 5,000, while permanent restrooms will be easily accessible, and parking and access will be greatly improved.
Once its full use for football purposes have been determined, the building could be opened up to be used for other events. Ellis mentioned the possibility of hosting parties or special events like those that are sometimes held at the stadium, or even hosting a regional combine -- an event for NFL prospects who don't receive an invitation to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
For now though, the team is excited to have the building finished and should test it out for the first time on Wednesday.