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Gonzaga works to develop significant extension to athletic facilities

Gonzaga is developing plans for a significant addition to its athletic facilities, tentatively proposed as a three-story structure connecting to the south side of the Martin Centre and the western edge of the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Elements could include space for student-athlete support services, a supplemental nutritional area that could be used for social events on game day, a practice facility for men’s and women’s basketball, strength and conditioning and a Hall of Fame/history of GU.

Gonzaga has approached the city with conceptual plans. Athletic director Mike Roth emphasized there is no timeline because the project is “really early in the planning phase” and subject to modifications. It will be funded entirely by benefactors, Roth said, and support has been “tremendous.”

The working title is the Center for Athletic Achievement (CAA), which could change if naming rights are secured. Cost of the project won’t be known until plans become finalized, but it figures to be in the $14-20 million range.

“Primarily we need it to service student-athletes and continue to be competitive in a very competitive environment,” Roth said.

Roth said the project’s top priority is student-athlete support services, which has outgrown office space in the Martin Centre. Support services encompasses academic counseling, tutoring, career building, leadership development and life skills for GU’s 325 student-athletes.

“We take extreme pride in what our student-athletes achieve academically,” Roth said. “Last year the NCAA charted the four-year average of APR (academic progress rate) data and we were No. 2 in the country, behind Dartmouth.”

Next on the priority list is a supplemental nutrition area that also could be used for events and social gatherings. It wouldn’t replace the existing food/dining services in the McCarthey Athletic Center.

“That’s a big push across the country right now that’s becoming a very competitive piece in recruiting,” Roth said.

The first floor of the building would house a practice facility and strength and conditioning center. It’s the only portion of the project that would be specific to basketball. GU officials have toured new practice facilities at Arizona and Utah to collect ideas. BYU has broken ground on a new building.

The final aspect is first-floor entry space that would house a Hall of Fame or tribute to the school’s history, Roth said.

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