By PAT EATON-ROBB, Associated Press
STORRS, Conn. (AP) _ The University of Connecticut’s board of trustees on Wednesday approved a final construction budget for the school’s new basketball training facility at $33.3 million.
That is about $300,000 more than the initial budget and doesn’t include furniture, fixtures and equipment, which is expected to push the cost closer to $40 million.
“We probably need to raise another $7 to $8 million. We’re about 75 to 80 percent there,” Warde Manuel, the school’s athletic director, said Wednesday. “That will be the final, final (budget).”
The vast majority of the funding is coming from private donations, with $231,300 to be picked up from the university’s operating funds.
The slight increase in funding will pay for the design of a basketball Hall of Fame, which will be located in the facility and open to the public. Among other things, it will display the school’s three men’s and eight women’s NCAA championship trophies.
The center also will include separate practice courts for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, locker rooms, weight rooms, classrooms, a sports medicine center and staff offices.
“It’s going to be one of the best, if not the best basketball practice facility in the country,” Manuel said. “It’s something our program has earned, whereas others have built theirs without the level of championship performances that our programs have had.”
The facility is currently under construction adjacent to Gampel Pavilion, on Jim Calhoun Way and is expected to be completed in the spring.
The name of the road, which runs past the school’s basketball, soccer, hockey, baseball and softball facilities also was officially changed Wednesday on a voice vote, to honor the Hall of Fame ex-coach. Calhoun retired last year, but is still working for the school and raising money for the facility.
“This is not just about recruiting,” Manuel said. “It’s about celebrating our history, the championships that we’ve won and the coaches and the student athletes that have been a part of that.”
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