The Rams are $3 million closer to a new practice facility.
Richmond packaging giant MeadWestvaco on Monday pledged $3 million to Virginia Commonwealth University’s athletic department. The donation – the biggest in the department’s history – will help fund a new practice facility for the school’s basketball program. The money will be distributed over 10 years.
Athletic director Ed McLaughlin said the deal has been in the works since he started at the school in early 2012. He said the donation won’t cover all of the construction costs for the new facility, the full amount of which is still unknown.
“We haven’t nailed down an exact figure, but this is a tremendous start for us,” McLaughlin said. “Besides Shaka Smart and our student athletes, facilities are the most important piece of our program.”
The school hasn’t settled on a location for the practice venue, but McLaughlin said a parking lot adjacent to the Siegel Center on West Broad Street could be one of the potential sites.
VCU is tentatively set to break ground on the project this spring, and the facility should take about 20 months to complete. McLaughlin said the school hasn’t selected an architect or general contractor.
MeadWestvaco, headquartered on the riverfront downtown, has previously donated to VCU’s schools of business, engineering, government and public affairs, and pharmacy.
MeadWestvaco will not take naming rights to the future sports facility
“They generously allowed us to call it the VCU Basketball Training Facility,” McLaughlin said.