Drake Breaks Ground On Basketball Practice Facility
DES MOINES, Iowa – Just hours before the Drake men’s basketball team defeated Omaha, the Bulldogs officially broke ground to start construction on the eagerly anticipated basketball practice facility.
Despite temperatures in the teens, a throng of Bulldog fans and donors gathered at the corner of 25th Street and Forest Ave. to watch the first dirt be ceremonially turned over in what was a significant milestone moment for Drake University, athletics and the men’s and women’s basketball programs.
“This facility will enhance learning for our student-athletes in the same way classroom renovation improves the academic experience,” said Drake University President David Maxwell. “This really brings our efforts to take Drake Basketball to the next level full circle. It’s laying the groundwork for our goal of competing for the Missouri Valley Championship and postseason play every single year.”
Joining Maxwell in putting shovels into the dirt were the project’s lead donors, Ron and Beverly Shivers and Greg and Suzie Burt. Head coaches Ray Giacoletti and Jennie Baranczyk, director of athletics Sandy Hatfield Clubb and historian Paul F. Morrison also turned a ceremonial spade.
At halftime of the men’s game, it was announced that the facility will bear the Shivers’ name to honor their significant and generous commitment to University and the practice facility.
“For Jennie and I this is about developing players,” said Drake men’s basketball head coach Ray Giacoletti. “Our programs are not able to go recruit top-50 players. We’re going to develop them over four years. That is what this facility will help us do.”
The $8 million, 39,000-square foot facility is expected to be completed in the fall of 2014. The facility will include two full-size courts flanked by auxiliary baskets to make the most of every minute and square foot dedicated to practice. Off court, the structure will feature state-of-the-art locker rooms, video suites, team rooms, and dedicated training facilities to foster each student-athlete’s physical and mental development.
“It’s been incredible journey these past few month to see how much people really believe about what we’re doing at Drake University,” said women’s basketball head coach Jennie Baranczyk. “This isn’t just a practice facility, it’s a statement.”
In addition to providing the Bulldogs with one of the top facilities in the country, the structure will help the entire University alleviate scheduling conflicts and provide more available recreational space for the general student population. The practice facility is the latest addition to an impressive list of infrastructure additions and improvements by Drake University as part of the distinctlyDrake comprehensive campaign.
“We have the right coaches. Coach Ray and Coach Jennie are extraordinary at what they do,” said Drake director of athletics Sandy Hatfield Clubb. “They’re excited to be here at Drake and build something special. The last piece of the puzzle is to have the facilities that we need to create competitive excellence that we can sustain. This basketball practice facility is the answer.”