Monday, June 11, 2018

University of Illinois' Ubben Basketball Practice Facility Getting a New Look

An exterior view of the artist's rendering of what a new Ubben Basketball Practice Facility will look like upon the project's completion. PHOTO / UI ATHLETICS
An interior view of the artist's rendering of what a new Ubben Basketball Practice Facility will look like upon the project's completion. PHOTO / UI ATHLETICS

Metamora, Ill. - In a press conference held inside the Ubben Basketball Practice Facility in Champaign, Illinois on Monday, University of Illinois Director of Athletics Josh Whitman made a joint announcement with Illini Women's Basketball Coach Nancy Fahey and Men's Basketball Coach Brad Underwood that the Ubben Basketball Practice Facility would be getting a new look.

The facility, which is 20 years old, will, according to the release for Illinois Athletics, "undergo a facelift that will more than double the square footage of the building", among other things.

Whitman says in the relase that in "20 years since Ubben opened, the concept has been copied by programs from coast-to-coast". Illinois says that they're trying to take the next step on numerous fronts, and the new renovations on Ubben Practice Facility will be one of those steps.

With the particular teams, it really hits home for Men's Basketball's Brad Underwood.

Underwood said in the release that things like "enhanced athletic training, rehab, and recovery areas" are just some of the things that make the new upgrades so great. The coach who will be entering his 2nd season with the Illini in 2018-19, emphasized that room for academic needs will be a quality addition as well, even using the phrase "home away from home".

The exact numbers are an additional 45,000 square feet, on top of a remodel on north of 8,300 square feet that already stands. New offices, two new half courts, and much bigger locker room and lounges continue the list of benefits this upgrade features.

As to how this will all be funded, the release references The Champions Campaign. It states that "the Champions Campaign is a $30 million fundraising campaign to provide the needed resources for teh University of Illinois Basketball programs, and renovate and expand the Richard T. Ubben Basketball Complex." It continues that the campaign "is part of the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics' $300 million fundraising goal for 'With Illinois', the recently announced $2.25 billion University-wide fundraising campaign.

The main entrance to the facility will be different as well. It will be located on the south end of the facility, while parking on the east side moves the "primary" side of the building to St. Mary's Road.

Whitman did note in the press conference that they expect to "fundraise all of that". He added that "if we didn't think that number (30 million) was doable, we wouldn't throw that number out there."

There is a pending approval from the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Also, according to Whitman, a three-year timeline once the project is official given the okay.

Full Press Conference: WATCH

Story compiled by Metamora Herald Sports Editor Alex Staab

Alex Staab Twitter | @StaabAlex
Metamora Herald Twitter | @1MetamoraHerald

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