This article was originally published by the Richmond Time-Dispatch and highlights the most impressive features of the new $25 million practice facility at Virginia Commonwealth University.
VCU’s new men’s and women’s basketball practice facility provides plenty of opportunities to impress, from the five cameras and performance-monitoring technology around the courts, to the blown-up pictures on the walls, to the school-color-themed black bamboo flooring and pool tables in the players’ lounges, to a floor in a hydrotherapy tub that can be raised and lowered, to display cabinets and interactive components in the lobby.
That was part of the design of the approximately $25 million facility school officials believe will have a significant impact in developing players, attracting high-caliber recruits and helping the Rams maintain a national presence.
“This building has all the comforts of home, for the coaches and the student-athletes,” said VCU director of facilities and Siegel Center operations Tim Lampe, who gave the media a tour Thursday. “For a recruit to come in and see the ‘wow factor,’ you see the building. Then you walk into the lobby and there’s another ‘wow factor.’ Then you go to the courts and go up in the team lounge and in the locker rooms — every turn it’s a ‘wow.’ You saw all the (pictures on the walls). We tell a great story in this building about both programs.”
The 62,000-square-foot facility, which sits across from the Siegel Center on West Marshall Street, still needs some finishing touches, furniture and other amenities before the men’s and women’s teams move in at the end of the week. Ribbon-cutting is scheduled for Nov. 2.
It replaces the men’s practice area in Franklin Street Gym, which opened in 1951, was expanded in 1970 and doesn’t have air conditioning. The gym area underwent a $250,000 renovation in 2006.
The women’s team plays its games and practices mostly in the Siegel Center, but occasionally it practices on Franklin Street. VCU’s master plan calls for replacing Franklin Street Gym with new buildings for the humanities and sciences.
Lampe took players on a tour for the first time last week and said “they were like little kids on Christmas.”
Read the full article on richmond.com.