The news Geno Auriemma, Jim Calhoun and now Kevin Ollie have waited for has finally arrived.
UConn donors have made it possible to begin construction of the basketball facility on the campus, adjacent to Gampel Pavilion.
The school has announced it has donations and pledges in hand for 75 percent of the construction cost of the UConn Basketball Development Center–$24 million of the $32 million needed–and will obtain financing for the project so construction can begin as soon as possible.
Completion is expected to take about 24 months.
“UConn is fortunate to have many strong supporters across the nation, who have dedicated themselves to the academic advancement of the university, the research ambitions of our faculty and students, as well as athletics,” UConn President Susan Herbst said in a university statement. “As we continue to build and renovate so many facilities on our multiple campuses, an outstanding new home is needed for our championship men’s and women’s basketball programs.”
Faithful alumnus Mark Shenkman and his wife, Rosalind, committed $2 million to the facility. Mr. Shenkman is the chair of the UConn Foundation Board of Directors and previously made a $2.5 million gift to name the athletic training and student recreational facility that bears his name on the Storrs campus.
“Rosalind and I feel very blessed to be able to make this gift to the University of Connecticut. This gift represents an investment in the future of UConn basketball,” said Shenkman. “After recently visiting the practice facilities at other institutions, I realized the importance that a practice facility can have in conveying the strength of a program. The completion of this basketball practice facility will certainly perpetuate UConn’s preeminent position as one of America’s college basketball capitals.”
“The success of our men’s and women’s basketball student-athletes, in both the classroom and on the court, will be greatly enhanced by the UConn Basketball Development Center,” said UConn Director of Athletics Warde Manuel. “I want to thank Mark and Rosalind Shenkman and all of our benefactors whose generosity are allowing us to begin construction of this project. We will continue to fund raise to obtain the entire cost of the project.”