In 4th Quarter Frenzy

Marcus Blackwell
Staff writer

VCU Practice Facility is primed for October’s opening date. PHOTO by JULIANNE TRIPP

VCU has invested $25 million into building a new state-of-the-art practice facility for the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Of the $25 million, $14.5 million was raised in private donations — making the facility the largest private fundraising project in VCU athletics history.

Construction began on June 2, 2014, and since has made substantial progress as completion set for October draws near.

The building is set to be around 62,000 square feet, containing practice courts and viewing decks for both the men’s and women’s basketball programs.

This summer, the focus of construction has been on finishing up the exterior of the complex, while adding and installing new technologies to the inside.

The facility will also offer strength and conditioning rooms, a training and hydrotherapy room along with countless other departments accommodating the athlete’s development.

With the “Shaka Smart Era” at VCU ending, and the hiring of new head coach Will Wade, the recruiting process has increased in significance.

The new facility will cater to recruits and VCU is confident that the athletes will be fond of the technologies that track their progress. These additions arguably place VCU with the University of Kentucky and Duke University who’ve had top practice facilities in the past years.

In a recent tour of the building, Tim Lampe, director of facilities, spoke on a few of the assets the facility will offer.

“The guys will be wearing chips that will measure their movements left and right, heart rate, perspiration rate and countless other data points,” Lampe said. “We’ll have seventy inch monitors for the coaches, so of course they won’t over or under train the athletes.”

Lampe also stated that there will be a command center in the theatre, so while the cameras capture the data within the gym, the coaching staff will be able to watch and code during practice, while having the ability to instantly show the team how they performed throughout the practices and workouts.

Lampe called the facility the perfect development center for basketball players. The construction team said that the advancements that this facility has mad have put VCU at the top of the list in regards to collegiate athletic facilities.

The new facility is not just beneficial for the basketball program, but it opens up space for the other athletic programs such as track and field to train in the other buildings, allowing more freedom in their workouts.

The practice facility brings a main attraction to the VCU basketball program that many recruits will love to be a part of, according to Lampe and his team. Lampe said the facility will bring a new and fresh addition to the basketball program, improving the training techniques that the coaching and training staff will utilize to push the teams forward.

Over the next two months the construction team will work on finish the painting and padding of walls while adding finishing touches to the flooring.

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