Richmond, VA – On January 22, 2015, Virginia Commonwealth University celebrated the construction of the new Basketball Training Facility with a ceremonial beam signing. With approximately 360 tons of steel framework in place, VCU Athletics is one step closer to the completion of this state-of-the-art facility for the men’s and women’s basketball programs.
Ceremony attendees included VCU President Dr. Michael Rao; Men’s Basketball Head Coach Shaka Smart; Women’s Basketball Head Coach Beth O’Boyle; representatives from VCU Athletics – including Athletics Director Ed McLaughlin; benefactors and donors; and representatives from the project’s architecture and construction firms – VMDO Architects and Barton Malow Company, respectively.
(L-R): VCU Athletics Director Ed McLaughlin, VCU President Michael Rao, Women’s Basketball Coach Beth O’Boyle, and Men’s Basketball Coach Shaka Smart
“This building is not only going to have a huge impact on our basketball programs but on all of our sports. It signifies that VCU is a landing spot for the highest level people and … that we can be elite nationally,” said Athletics Director Ed McLaughlin, who has shepherded the project since the start of his tenure in July 2012.
“When I first got here, this building was a discussion, a dream, and now it’s a project. That project is signified by our beam that we have here today. It’s a sign of progress for our department but also a sign of how far we’ve come,” said McLaughlin.
President Rao emphasized Shaka Smart’s role in inspiring the project. “We had a real opportunity, a real catalyst in particular, when we hired Shaka … he believes in himself and believes in what can happen and just makes it happen,” said Rao, referencing VCU’s breakthrough 2011 Final Four performance.
Dr. Rao sees a bright future ahead. “At the core of that future [is] an opportunity to bring the finest student athletes to this institution.” This opportunity for growth and expansion will be reinforced with the Basketball Training Facility’s opening this September 2015.
Attendees Sign the Ceremonial Beam
About the Project: Located on West Marshall Street, north of the Siegel Center, the new VCU Basketball Training Facility provides both the men’s and women’s programs with state-of-the-art facilities in one 58,000 square foot, two-story building that will aid in recruitment and player/team development.
The design celebrates the activities within the facility and strives to connect fans to the Rams basketball experience. Clerestory lighting and expanses of translucent glass foster a sense of openness and fellowship with the surrounding community. Inside, hubs of activity recall the vigorous momentum of the men’s and women’s basketball programs and relay this focused energy palpably to passersby.
The Training Facility is designed as a place of pride and inspiration for players and coaches, as a source of amazement for fans and donors, and as an awe-inspiring point of reassurance for young recruits. The building is at once fresh and timeless — an inspirational place to play and work every day.
Rendering of the new VCU Basketball Training Facility by VMDO Architects