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Connecticut to break ground on new $32 million basketball facility

Oct 17, 2012, 10:28 AM EST

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The University of Connecticut will soon begin construction on a $32 million basketball facility after raising close to $24 million of private funds, the school announced Tuesday.

With 75% of the project funded, ground can be broken on the project, and the school expects to pick up the tab for the remaining $8 million.

“UConn is fortunate to have many strong supporters across the nation, who have dedicated themselves to the academic advancement of the university, the research ambitions of our faculty and students, as well as athletics,” UConn President Susan Herbst said in a release.

“As we continue to build and renovate so many facilities on our multiple campuses, an outstanding new home is needed for our championship men’s and women’s basketball programs.”

The project is expected to take two years once financing is in place and will be built next to Gampel Pavilion. Among the expected features of the new facility are basketball courts for both the men’s and women’s teams, staff offices, classrooms, locker rooms, weight rooms, and a sports medicine center, according to the AP.

Connecticut alumnus Mark Shenkman and his wife Rosalind are two of the major donors to the project, contributing $2 million to the construction of the facility.

“Rosalind and I feel very blessed to be able to make this gift to the University of Connecticut. This gift represents an investment in the future of UConn basketball,” Shenkman said in a statement.

“After recently visiting the practice facilities at other institutions, I realized the importance that a practice facility can have in conveying the strength of a program. The completion of this basketball practice facility will certainly perpetuate UConn’s preeminent position as one of America’s college basketball capitals.”

The Huskies begin their first season under new head coach Kevin Ollie in 2012-13. They open their season on Nov. 9 against Michigan State.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_