A week after landing a $3 million donation, Virginia Commonwealth University athletics has scored big again.
Downtown-based Health Diagnostic Laboratories on Wednesday announced a $4 million sponsorship of the VCU athletic department – the largest in the program’s history.
The money will help fund improvements to the school’s athletic facilities, including a planned practice facility for the basketball program.
In exchange, HDL, a rapidly growing medical testing company, will get its name on all VCU athletic facilities, including the Siegel Center, Sports Backers Stadium and the Cary Street Gym, which will become part of the HDL, Inc. Athletic Village. New signs will be installed to display the HDL brand. The existing names of the facilities will remain.
VCU president Michael Rao said at a news conference Wednesday that the gift would bolster the athletic program, which in turn will strengthen the whole university.
“Athletics is the window through which so many people look at higher education,” Rao said. “So we’re very appreciative.”
The announcement comes a week after Richmond-based packaging giant MeadWestvaco pledged $3 million toward the future basketball complex.
VCU athletic director Ed McLaughlin said the practice facility will tentatively break ground in the spring, but a site has yet to be announced. A parking lot adjacent to the Siegel Center on West Broad Street could be one of the potential sites.
HDL has been in expansion mode. In December, the company filed plans with the city to build a $24 million, 100,000-square-foot addition to its headquarters in the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park. That’s in addition to a 112,000-square-foot headquarters that is under construction at the corner of Fifth and East Jackson streets.