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SDSU announces plan for basketball practice facility by '15

San Diego State University went public Tuesday with plans for a new $14.5 million practice facility for its men’s and women’s basketball programs.

The announcement opened the door to completing a fundraising push for the facility.

The school’s athletic department said that more than half of the needed funds have been raised already, making now an ideal time for the public pitch.

“This is an exciting day to be able to announce this project is moving forward,” said Jim Sterk, SDSU’s athletic director. “It is a project that will greatly benefit our already successful men’s and women’s basketball programs. It is also an important day because we are going public with our drive to raise funds for the project and hope that the community that has enjoyed SDSU basketball will get behind this project.”

Tentatively scheduled for a groundbreaking late next spring and dubbed for now the Basketball Performance Center, the facility will be two levels and total 23,500 square feet.

The schedule would have the facility completed by 2015.

SDSU has identified space immediately south of the Fowler Athletics Center on 55th Street and east of the football practice fields -- behind the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center -- for it to be built.

Presently, the space is a lawn that is sometimes used by the alumni center for certain outdoor events.

The practice facility’s floor plan includes two full-length courts and eight baskets on the ground level floor, and a below-grade level to complete a package that will include locker rooms, film rooms, team lounges and an athletic training room.

More than $8 million has been privately raised for the facility already, according to SDSU spokesman Greg Block.

With the state holding back funding for now on university capital projects, the practice facility -- like most other ongoing or planned projects at SDSU -- will have to rely on philanthropy to raise the rest of what’s needed.

The school’s “wish list” of other projects includes renovations to the College of Business’ entrance, continued work modernizing on-campus housing, and an extensive reconfiguration of Love Library that’s planned to span multiple phases through 20 years, cost $150 million and make its different spaces work better with one another.

The philanthropic community has provided consistently, Block said. The school expects the basketball facility and other projects to get what they need to go forward, he added, noting that the university schedules projects -- whether athletics-related or academic -- based on the philanthropist's desires.

“When people see this building, the basketball facility, and say we should be adding classrooms -- well, people donate money to things they’re interested in,” Block said. “We have a lot of support for a lot of different things.”

When the facility isn’t in use by the teams, it will be used for other purposes, depending on availability.

That would distinguish it from the teams’ use of existing facilities such as Viejas Arena -- which sometimes isn’t available for practice, leaving the teams to sometimes practice elsewhere; Peterson Gym is one example.

Both men’s head basketball coach Steve Fisher and women’s head coach Stacie Terry said the new facility will help their programs showcase a quality product for would-be SDSU basketball recruits and students.

“This has been a priority for the basketball programs for some time and will help both basketball programs immensely,” Fisher said.

Terry described it as not just a building, but a teams’ “classroom.”

“It also keeps San Diego State competing at the highest level not only in basketball, but in recruiting as well,” she added.

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Morteza Mehrabadi

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