FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas officially broke ground on its new Basketball Performance Center with an official groundbreaking ceremony Saturday on the future site of its $25 million facility.
Emceed by “Voice of the Razorbacks,” Chuck Barrett, the event was open to Razorback fans and members of the general public. Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long spoke at the festivities, as well as UA Chancellor Dr. David G. Gearhart, head men’s basketball coach Mike Anderson and head women’s basketball coach Tom Collen.
“Although we are still in the process of raising the funding needed for the facility, it is critical we move ahead to provide our basketball programs with a facility to bring us up to the level of the institutions we compete with day in and day out in the SEC and around the region,” Long said. “I am confident that even as we begin construction, others will step up with support to help provide our men’s and women’s basketball programs a comprehensive practice facility which will help us better serve the development needs of our current and future student-athletes.”
Many former Razorbacks of both the men’s and women’s Arkansas basketball program were also in attendance for the groundbreaking festivities. Those that made appearances included: Adrienne Bush, Joel Heider, Sammy Munsey, Vernon Murphy, Martha Neal, Sarah Pfeifer, Tom Rowlan, Arthur Royston and Darryl Salsbury.
Lead design team partners MAHG Architecture (Fort Smith, Ark.) and Populous (Kansas City, Mo.) had individuals in attendance to help commemorate the Basketball Performance Center. Representing MAHG Architecture was Travis Bartlett and Michael Lejong, while Jeremy Krug and Brady Spencer also attended for Populous.
The 66,000 square foot facility and new Home of Razorback Basketball is scheduled to officially open its doors in the summer of 2015. The Basketball Performance Center will serve all operational components of the men’s and women’s programs, including: two full-court gymnasiums, men’s and women’s locker rooms, a weight room, an athletic training room, coaches’ offices, team meeting rooms, student-athlete lounge and study areas and an equipment room.
“The basketball Performance Center will give us the ability to hold practices and other team related activities at any time of the day independent of other scheduled events at Bud Walton Arena,” Long said. “It will also allow tremendous flexibility in accommodating student-athletes academic schedules to help further assist them on their track to graduation.”
Arkansas is currently the only Southeastern Conference program without a basketball practice facility. The Basketball Performance Center will be located along Leroy Pond Road across the street from the south side of Bud Walton Arena between Bogle Park and The Gardens.
One of three projects that is part of the Never Yield fundraising initiative, the motto” Never Yield” originated from a signature line in the University of Arkansas’ fight song. Serving as a program-wide motto to help raise the national profile of Razorback Athletics, the motto also helps bring fans together in their support for the more than 460 student-athletes representing the University of Arkansas.
In addition to the Basketball Performance Center, the Never Yield campaign has provided support for the new baseball and track indoor training facility already under construction, as well as the future Student-Athlete Success Center. The baseball and track indoor training facility is targeted for completion in the summer of 2014. If you would like more information on how on how you can support the Never Yield campaign please call the Razorback Foundation at (479) 443-9000.
The day of celebration for Razorback basketball continues, as immediately following the Basketball Performance Center groundbreaking ceremony Arkansas hosts Clemson in men’s basketball at 1 p.m., while women’s basketball welcomes Northwestern State to Bud Walton Arena at 7 p.m. Tickets for both games are available by logging on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com or by calling the Razorback Ticket Office at 1-800-982-HOGS (4647).
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