Arkansas to break ground on basketball practice facility

Courtesy, UA Athletics

Arkansas has been operating for the past several years as the only school in the SEC without a dedicated basketball practice facility. That’s finally about to change.

The UA on Tuesday announced that a groundbreaking ceremony for a new $25 million Basketball Performance Center is set for 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7.

The new facility will be the headquarters for all operation components for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, and will include two full-court gyms, locker rooms, weight rooms, training rooms, offices, meeting rooms, and more. It will be located across from Bud Walton Arena on Leroy Pond Road, between Bogle Park and The Gardens.

Athletic director Jeff Long said the facility is sorely needed, and will serve multiple purposes for the program including possibly freeing up Bud Walton Arena for other purposes.

“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. The everyday use of the Basketball Performance Center will also allow us to explore more frequent and diverse uses of Bud Walton Arena. Additional campus and outside events could bring significant additional economic benefits to our region even beyond the current estimated $1 billion economic impact affiliated with Razorback Athletics in the next five years.”

The facility is not yet fully funded, but Long said it’s time to move forward on the project anyway.

“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 the 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.”

MAHG Architecture (Fort Smith) and Populous (Kansas City, Mo.) will lead the design team on the 66,000 square foot facility, and CDI Constructors (Fayetteville and Little Rock) will serve as the general contractor.

The new facility should be completed by the summer of 2015.