VCU drives a hardwood bargain

Lumber Liquidators CEO Rob Lynch, left, and VCU AD Ed McLaughlin. (Photo by Burl Rolett)

Lumber Liquidators CEO Rob Lynch, left, and VCU AD Ed McLaughlin. (Photo by Burl Rolett)

Lumber Liquidators is sending sponsorship dollars and a whole lot of hardwood to Virginia Commonwealth University.

The flooring giant announced Wednesday that it would provide the hardwood floors for a planned $14.5 million VCU basketball practice facility. Lumber Liquidators will also send money directly to VCU in an agreement that could total $1 million, depending on how much wood the school needs for its practice facility.

The agreement is about a year and a half in the works, VCU athletic director Ed McLaughlin said.

“We need hardwood for the basketball courts and the new basketball complex, so it works out pretty well,” he said.

The Rams Athletic Foundation, which handles fundraising for all of VCU’s athletic programs, is closing in on its $14.5 million fundraising goal for the new facility. The Rams Athletic Foundation had about $10 million in the bank for the project in July.

McLaughlin said Wednesday that he anticipates the funds would be in place by the end of the year and hopes to break ground on the new gym in March 2014.

Although the school has yet to announce a final location for the facility, VCU’s master site plan puts the gym at the northwest corner of the Siegel Center, near the Bowe Street parking lot. A new basketball practice facility would replace VCU’s Franklin Street Gym.

Lumber Liquidators is the third major Virginia-based company to get behind the practice facility project this year. In February, MeadWestvaco gave VCU $3 million. That gift was the largest in the program’s history for about a week, until Health Diagnostic Laboratories shelled out $4 million in early March. In exchange, all of VCU’s current athletic facilities became part of the “HDL, Inc. Athletic Village.”

The Rams Athletic Foundation posted record fundraising numbers for the 2012-13 fiscal year. Donations to the program’s annual fund, which covers operating expenses and scholarships, topped $3 million for the first time.

“We’ve raised so much more money from a capital standpoint than VCU has ever raised before,” McLaughlin said.

A rendering of the planned basketball training facility. (Courtesy of VCU)

A rendering of VCU’s planned basketball training facility. (Courtesy of VCU)

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wasn’t lumber liquidators recently under fire for purchasing illegally sourced wood? is that case over? pretty risky for VCU to enter into this partnership if not…


Great job raising all of that money, but terrible to see all of the high priced seats empty at the game Thurs night…..create a way to pass unused seats onto others 15 mins before tip off