Ground has been broken, and clearing has begun for Jacksonville University’s new basketball performance center. The center, currently scheduled to open in time for the 2021-2022 season, will be the future home of the JU men’s and women’s basketball teams, volleyball program and associated operations. When complete, the two-story, 26,000-square-foot facility will feature coaching staff offices, weight and training rooms, and a full court and a half of playing surface. The new building will also offer 24-hour gym access for coaches — a prized amenity in collegiate athletics.
According to Alex Ricker-Gilbert, JU Athletic Director, the performance center has been a top priority for the university and the athletics department for several years. “Facilities can set programs apart from their peers, and in the sports of men’s and women’s basketball, the landscape is increasingly competitive,” Ricker-Gilbert said. “The basketball performance center will provide a new home for our student-athletes, enhance our ability to recruit quality individuals, and will allow them to be better prepared academically and athletically. This is a major component of a larger scale plan to chart our successful future in men’s and women’s basketball.”
Tony Jasick, head coach for the men’s basketball team agreed. “This basketball facility will have a significant impact on the way our program can operate, beginning with the recruitment process and spanning our players’ entire time at Jacksonville University.”
Darnell Haney, head coach for the women’s basketball team, echoed Jasick’s sentiments. “A one-stop shop where we can train, build team camaraderie and attract top recruits will help us compete at a high level and carry out the mission of our program.”
Located adjacent to Swisher Gymnasium, the new performance center will solve current logistical issues and create more functionality and connectivity between the court and coaching offices. With two courts, it will be easier for the basketball and volleyball teams to schedule practice time, and the existence of the facility itself will unlock new opportunities for summer youth programming.
Funding for the new $8 million facility is part of JU’s ASPIRE Campaign, the university’s largest fundraising initiative to date. Balfour Beatty was selected for construction and has already begun site preparations. The firm is an industry-leading provider of general contracting, at-risk construction management and design-build services for public and private sector clients across the United States, and will be leveraging the latest technologies and methods to deliver the project on time.