Pending a funding plan approved by the West Virginia University administration, WVU s Board of Governors on Friday (Dec. 12) approved the future construction of a $26 million, 64,000-square-foot basketball practice facility for the mens and womens teams. The project is contingent upon private funding.

The building, to be located adjacent to the west side of the Coliseum, will include two practice courts, a playerslounge, study area, meeting rooms, staff offices, locker rooms, training facilities, weight room and main entrywith a Hall of Fame. A special floor designed to reduce the risk of player injury is planned, and the building will be designed with many sustainablegreenelements for energy efficiencies in mechanical systems, lighting and electrical components.

Construction of the facility will take about 18 months, officials say.

The Board authorized WVU s president to approve the bidding process once a funding plan and sufficient resources are in place and recommended by the vice president of administration and finance in consultation with the director of intercollegiate athletics.

WVU Director of Athletics Ed Pastilong said he was appreciative of the Boards support, noting,This practice facility is important for our quest to win a national championship.

Mens basketball coach Bob Huggins also commented:The practice facility is very much a need, not a want. It will allow us the flexibility of practicing every day in the same facility and also allow the student-athletes the flexibility to work out as their busy schedules permit. For us to stay in the upper echelon of college basketball, the practice facility is a must. It also allows us the opportunity to honor the great tradition and the great athletes that comprise West Virginia basketball.

Womens basketball coach Mike Carey also applauded the Board action.

The new practice facility is a huge benefit for both basketball programs,he said.It is more than needed because of all the scheduling conflicts that currently arise in the Coliseum. It will give our players the chance to play and practice whenever we would like. Most of the major Division I programs around the country have a practice facility, and it will be major benefit in recruiting here at West Virginia.

In his report to the Board, interim President C. Peter Magrath announced the establishment of a registrara high-profile position that will report to academic affairs and be responsible for state-of-the-art efficient and effective record keeping at the University. A position description is being developed and will be advertised after the first of the year.

In other business, the Board approved appointments to the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute (BRNI) Board of Directors and the WVU Health Sciences Center (HSC) National Advisory Council.

Serving on the BRNI board will be: Magrath, Board Chair Carolyn Long, former WVU Foundation board member Stuart M. Robbins and Dr. Julian Bailes, chair of the Department of Neurosurgery.

William O. Nutting, vice president, Ogden Newspapers Inc., Wheeling, will serve on the national advisory council for the HSC .

The Board tabled approval of honorary degrees until the February meeting.

The next regular meeting of the Board is Feb. 6, 2009. The June meeting will be held at the WVU Institute of Technology in Montgomery.