Athletic Department improves Coors Events Center
The CU Athletic Department is in the process of improving the facilities inside the Coors Events Center and building a new practice facility nearby for use by its varsity basketball programs.
Improvements inside the Coors Events Center will include the completion and opening of the new center for basketball operations, renovations to the men’s locker room and a new weight room.
Athletic Director Mike Bohn said the Athletic Department is trying to keep moving forward on the several different basketball projects.
“We have got a lot on our plate,” Bohn said. “We are really trying to keep moving ahead on our facilities projects.”
These projects come in conjunction with the hiring of Jeff Bzdelik, the first-year head coach of the men’s basketball team.
According to his contract, CU is required to have begun construction on the upgraded basketball facility by 2010, or he will be able to opt out of the contract.
Bohn said the Athletic Department is putting the finishing touches on the new center for basketball operations in the Coors Events Center- all they need now is the furniture.
An exact date for the men’s and women’s basketball programs to move into their new operations center has not been set, but Bohn said he hopes to have them moved in by spring break.
Tom McGann, director of game management and operations at CU, said the most difficult part of finishing the operations center has been finishing the construction without disturbing the basketball programs themselves.
“The real issue is furniture and video equipment and scheduling that around their busy season commitments without disrupting operations,” McGann said. “The video editing equipment takes four to five days to relocate.”
Bohn said the total cost of the project was around $950,000.
The Athletic Department received no corporate support for the project. Bohn said it was paid for entirely by donations from private individuals.
“They are all folks that really have an interest in helping basketball,” Bohn said. “These are alumni, people that care about the community, people that care about CU- former players, prominent businessmen in the area- a little bit of everyone.”
With the basketball operations center nearing completion, the Athletic Department is not taking a break. Bohn said the athletic department has already hired a contractor to begin work on the men’s basketball locker room.
McGann said the cost of construction for the men’s locker room renovations will be in the neighborhood of $200,000, and the athletic department is looking to begin construction Monday.
The university completed a $500,000 project to renovate its football locker room nearly seven months ago in July.
The Athletic Department’s plan to build a new basketball practice facility was approved by the Boulder Campus Planning Commission last fall and shortly thereafter by the Chancellor’s Executive Committee. Approval of both the aforementioned university groups is required for any major building project to begin on the CU-Boulder campus.
Bohn said the Athletic Department expects the entire practice facility project to cost around $10 million, entirely paid for by private donors.
“Obviously fundraising is a big part of what we are working on at this point,” Bohn said. “It is going okay, but we really have not had a lot of models to show our prospective donors exactly what we’re doing.”
The Athletic Department does have a simple rendering of what the practice facility may look like but is still making adjustments.
The practice facility is proposed to go on the east side of the Coors Events Center, which currently houses university-owned basketball courts. These courts are used by CU students for recreation as well as by the university’s intramural sports program.
Bohn said that the Athletic Department will be required to relocate the outdoor courts as a part of the practice facility project so CU students will still have a place to play outdoors after the facility is built.
The athletic department has also begun planning on putting a new weight room in Coors Events Center.
McGann said the department is still in the early phases of planning for the project and do not know any specifics yet.
“We have just enlisted a structural engineer to make sure our plan is feasible, so I do not have any definitive data at this time,” McGann said.
Bzdelik said all the new improvements the Athletic Department is working on for the basketball team has him excited about the direction in which the program is headed.
“Things are happening,” Bzdelik said. “We are moving along in a positive way.”
Bzdelik said having the basketball offices in Coors Events Center will be much more convenient than having them at Folsom Field, where they are currently located.
The basketball team currently works out in the Dal Ward Athletic Center, on the opposite side of campus from Coors Events Center, which is where the team practices.
Bzdelik said having a place where the team can lift weights near where they practice will be far more efficient than their current situation.
“It will be nicer to have it here than over there,” Bzdelik said in an interview in Coors Events Center. “It is tough when after practice you have to go all the way over there, especially when the weather has been bad. You cool down on the way over, then you have to amp up again once you get there. You work out, then you have to come all the way back here and turn in your gear.”
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Brad Cochi at Bradley.Cochi@thecampuspress.com.