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New look for Convocation Center at JMU

convo centerAn updated playing surface will be accompanied by a modernized look as JMU unveiled the official design for the Convocation Center basketball court.

“Several months of planning and tweaking have culminated in a layout that will be uniquely JMU while instilling heightened spirit and pride,” commented Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne. “I’d like to commend our folks for their hard work to identify a bolder, more distinctive appearance while also thanking the many fans who participated in our social media design campaign.”

The new design was the culmination of a fan participation process via the JMUSports Facebook page.  In May, fans were given the chance to enter their own designs for consideration. JMU Athletics narrowed the 65 original submissions to a second round list of 10 while asking fans to provide feedback regarding their favorite aspects of different designs.

After an extensive review of Facebook feedback, JMU settled upon the basic framework of a submission from longtime Valley resident and JMU supporter Becky Taylor, who also briefly worked on campus as part of the Forbes Center construction project. Athletics continued to work with her to incorporate popular aspects of other designs before agreeing upon the official layout.

“The final design, for all of the work that went into this, meets all of my expectations,” noted men’s basketball head coach Matt Brady. “I think it embodies the original vision, which is a perfect blend of a modern or hip look combined with something that still has dignity and respect. We’re very appreciative of everyone who participated in the process to make this new court a reality.”

The final design prominently features JMU’s secondary athletics logo, the head of Duke Dog, covering greater than half of the inside area of each three-point arc and extending beyond the sideline and baseline in each diagonal corner.  The JMU block lettering used by athletics fills the middle of the court crossing through the jump circle.  The court includes the signature of former U.S. President James Madison in two locations while the out-of-bounds area includes the James Madison University branded lettering and JMUSports.com advertising, each in two locations.

Women’s basketball head coach Kenny Brooks added, “I think the new design is a combination of vintage and modern which can be enjoyed by all of JMU Nation. There was a lot of effort by all that went into this design, and I am excited for the unveiling for all to see”.

As part of the painting process, contractors will employ a staining process that will provide a muted version of the university’s colors within the three-point arc in order to allow the beauty of the natural maple flooring to remain visible. This process will also allow the court lines to remain prominent. The JMU letters at center court will appear in full color to further promote the unique design features of the floor.

The previous Convo playing surface was installed in the summer of 2003. Due to deteriorating floor condition, a new floor was installed this summer by Royalwood Associates, a company based in Raleigh, N.C.  The company has been in business since 1982 and has installed many of the college basketball playing surfaces in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.

Installation of the surface was completed in late August with painting set for early September. The floor is expected to be completed by the last week of September in time for both basketball programs to begin their official practice period that weekend.

“The floor is a marketing tool in so many ways,” noted Taylor, who frequently participates in graphic design contests and described being ‘ecstatic’ at the chance to participate in the JMU floor process. “It attracts new young recruits, gets media attention and is seen by many. For example, when I saw the Boise State football field for the first time, I stopped and watched. The field design was intriguing, outside of the norm, and it made me pay attention. This court will do the same thing. It will make people stop and watch.”

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