Board of Visitors Approves New Basketball Facility

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The Roanoke Times reported on Monday that the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors
has approved a $20 million practice facility for the men’s and women’s
basketball programs. The 59,000 square foot facility will be built next to
Cassell Coliseum on the location of the parking lot next to the hill that
overlooks the football practice fields.

The new facility will include two practice courts that will cover a 12,000
square foot area. There will also be locker rooms for the players and coaches,
two weight rooms, players’ lounges, conference rooms, a trainer’s room, a video
editing room and a film room. One of the weight rooms will be used by the
basketball programs, and the others will be used by the Olympic sports teams.

Hokie Club chapter presidents were told in the January 2007 Winter Hokie Club
President’s Meeting (in information obtained by TechSideline.com) that the
basketball weight room would be 3,500 square feet, and the Olympic sports weight
room would be 10,000 square feet.

The building will cost $20 million. $4.7 million have already been raised by
the Hokie Club. Their goal is to raise $10.6 million to put towards the project.
The other $9.4 million will be borrowed. Virginia Tech charges a $3 debt service fee per football ticket, which will be used to pay off the $9.4 million debt. Naming rights for the facility
are also up for grabs, but pricing was not disclosed.

When completed, the basketball facility should be the most impressive
athletic facility at Virginia Tech. It will be bigger and newer than the
Merryman Center, which at 40,000 square feet cost $10.6 million back in 1997.

The basketball facility will be the third most expensive capital athletic
project in Virginia Tech history. The West Side expansion in Lane Stadium cost
$52.5 million, while the South Endzone expansion came with a $34.5 million price
tag.

Virginia Tech will make the project available for bidding by architectural
firms. HOK Sport did the original design, and the final design is not expected
to be much different. Construction is expected to begin early in 2008. (January
2008 was the date given in the President’s Meeting). The basketball teams are
expected to move into their new home in the summer or fall of 2009.

The front of the building will be located on Washington Street. There will be
a reception area, coaches offices and conference rooms in the front of the
building. The back of the building will include the practice courts, locker
rooms and weight rooms. Hokie Stone will be used in the construction of the
building.

Dowdell Named Honorable Mention All-American

Virginia Tech guard Zabian Dowdell was named an honorable mention
All-American by the Associated Press on Monday. The senior from Pahokee, FL
averaged 17.4 points, 2.1 steals and 3.1 assists per game this past season. He
was a First Team All-ACC selection, and he was also named to the ACC
All-Defensive team.

Dowdell is the first Virginia Tech player named honorable mention
All-American since forward Bryant Matthews made the team back in 2004. Dowdell
finished sixth on Tech’s career scoring list with 1,785 points, third on Tech’s
all-time steal list with 241, and fifth on Tech’s career assists list with 380.

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