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Drake University breaks ground on new basketball practice facility

November 15, 2013

basketballDrake University will host a ceremonial groundbreaking for its basketball facility as part of an exciting weekend of Bulldog basketball on Saturday, Nov. 23. The groundbreaking for the state-of-the-art, on-campus facility for the Drake basketball programs will take place at 11 a.m. prior to the men’s basketball game against Nebraska-Omaha. The following day, the women’s team hosts in-state rival Iowa State.

Drake University President David Maxwell, director of athletics Sandy Hatfield Clubb, men’s basketball head coach Ray Giacoletti, and women’s basketball head coach Jennie Baranczyk will all briefly speak about the significance of the project before putting shovels in the ground to celebrate the official start of construction.

The groundbreaking ceremony will take place at the construction site, located at the corner of 25th St. and Forest Ave., adjacent to the southeast corner of the Knapp Center. Gameday parking lots will open at 10 a.m.

“The basketball practice facility allows us to continue building the foundation for the type of sustained success that this university deserves,” says Ray Giacoletti, men’s basketball head coach.

Construction of 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.

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.

“At Drake, this facility will help the entire University with scheduling conflicts that arise between the Knapp Center and Bell Center,” Giacoletti says. “There are so many events going on every day that it’s imperative we have more space for the general student population. It’s two fold in that this will help men’s and women’s basketball and the students.”

“We want Drake basketball to be an integral part of the Des Moines community,” says Jennie Baranczyk, women’s basketball head coach. “For that to happen at the level we envision, we needed to upgrade our facilities.”

The practice facility will provide Drake’s basketball programs dedicated space to alleviate scheduling conflicts while creating an environment that allows the student-athletes and coaching staff to maximize their practice time and each student-athlete’s potential. Members of both teams will also have unlimited individual access to facility to allow them to continue to fine tune and hone their on-court skills on their own schedule.

Fans are encouraged to cheer on the Bulldogs after the ceremony when they host Nebraska-Omaha at 1:05 p.m. The Knapp Center doors will open at 11:15 a.m. and $5 general admission tickets are available to help celebrate a landmark day in Drake basketball history.

The following day, Sunday, Nov. 24, the Drake women’s basketball team returns to the Knapp Center to host in-state rival Iowa State at 2:05 p.m. for its “Pay it Forward” game. Fans who bring three cans of non-perishable food to the game will receive a voucher for free admission to the next women’s basketball game on Dec. 5 versus Idaho State.