The University Board of Regents voted unanimously yesterday to authorize the Athletic Department to move forward with plans to construct a new practice facility next to Crisler Arena.

Ariel Bond / Daily

The 50,000-square-foot facility is expected to cost more than $23 million and will be paid for with Athletic Department funds and private donations. The new facility will include two new basketball practice courts, team locker areas, strength and conditioning space, athletic medicine space and coaching and staff offices.

At yesterday’s meeting, University President Mary Sue Coleman said the facility is a necessary addition to the athletic campus.

“There’s been a lot of planning for this,” she told the regents. “I think the need is well established.”

Regent Laurence Deitch (D-Bingham Farms) added to Coleman’s comments, saying the addition has been needed for some time.

“It’s long overdue,” he said.

Athletic Director Bill Martin was present at the meeting, but did not speak about the proposal. In a statement released after the meeting, Martin said he was thankful for the regents’ approval.

“I am truly appreciative of the efforts of all involved to start this project,” he said. “I can’t wait to get the shovel in the ground and get started on this project.”

Crisler Arena’s game court is currently the only practice court for the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Martin said the addition will provide more flexibility for the teams’ management and athletes.

“It’s an exciting day for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams,” Martin said in a statement. “The facility will allow our student athletes to practice later in the day, giving them more flexibility in scheduling their academic classes.”

Women’s Basketball Coach Kevin Borseth said in a written statement that he was excited for the new facility.

“Everything surrounding our basketball program, including scheduling, player/coach working relationships, player development and recruitment, will benefit from this addition,” he said. “The goal of our program is to create an environment that will foster what’s best for the development of the (student-athletes) and their success, both on the court and in the classroom.”

The Board of Regents will be asked to approve a schematic design for the facility at a later meeting.

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