BOULDER - The University of Colorado's new basketball and volleyball practice facility was officially dedicated Saturday afternoon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Chancellor Phil DiStefano and Senior Women's Administrator Ceal Barry - the school's winningest women's basketball coach - briefly addressed the crowd of about 400, which included the CU marching band, several regents and other school officials.
Following DiStefano's and Barry's remarks, fans took a self-guided tour of the 43,000-square foot building. It features a pair of practice courts - each 11,000 feet - that are identical to the court next door at the Coors Events Center, which adjoins the practice facility.
Barry recounted Athletics Director Mike Bohn's first month on the job in the spring of 2005. On a walk to the Events Center, Barry told Bohn that the basketball offices were in the football stadium, basketball players lifted weights at the Dal Ward Athletics Center and changed clothes in the locker rooms at Coors.
"We've got to change that," Bohn said.
Said Barry: "I kind of looked at him, like, 'Okay.'"
But Bohn followed through. Within a year, the coaches' offices and weight room had moved to the Events Center, and after ground was broken 17 months ago, basketball and volleyball now have their state-of-the-art practice facility.
DiStefano also credited Bohn: "His leadership made this a reality."
Barry thanked all who had a hand in the process - from donors to architects to the construction company - as well as CU basketball fans for their perseverance last season in negotiating game-day disruptions in the construction zone.
"It's going to be worth it when you step inside this building," she said. "It's going to pay tremendous dividends as we move into the Pac-12 Conference."
DiStefano recalled the Kansas men's team visit to the Events Center last winter and the disruption caused by TV crews and NBA scouts to CU women's coach Linda Lappe's practice that afternoon.
"Well, that's not going to happen anymore," DiStefano promised. "Now, our teams can practice uninterrupted on game days. Now, we can be proud of a practice facility for women's and men's basketball and volleyball, befitting teams at a top-caliber program. For the first time all three of our court sports will be able to practice simultaneously."
DiStefano called the new facility "one-stop shopping" for CU's student-athletes, enabling them and their coaches to eliminate the scheduling and practicing conflicts that frequently interfered with academics when all three sports were trying to utilize the same facility for practices.
He also emphasized the building creates "much-needed space" for pregame activities and will "help bolster CU's efforts for gender equity under Title IX compliance . . . the ability of both women's teams to enjoy state-of-the-art practice facilities is paramount to building a viable women's sports program."
The men's and women's basketball offices already are in the Events Center, with volleyball's offices scheduled to move into the new facility before Saturday's dedication.
The new building, which matches the architecture on the surrounding campus, recently was honored with LEED Platinum certification for its green building design.