JMU unveils plans for new Convocation Center: $88 million price tag
“The Convocation Center will help us grow our JMU brand and place us in a position for relevance on a national stage,” said Bourne. “This is a significant initiative in our continued efforts to establish a culture and facilities that will allow our men’s and women’s basketball programs to compete at the highest level of Division I athletics.”
The 8,500-seat structure will play host to a myriad of events annually, including basketball games, public speakers, university convocation and graduation, high school graduation ceremonies, concerts, conventions, trade shows and family entertainment options.
“The new Convocation Center will elevate the national profile of JMU and the Shenandoah Valley,” added JMU President Jonathan R. Alger. “Athletics is a significant component of the outward story of James Madison University and this complex is a key priority for us during our capital campaign.”
The $88 million dollar arena will be located at the corner of University Boulevard and Carrier Drive, adjacent to the East Campus Dining Hall and the Festival Conference and Student Center.
The Convocation Center will be the largest event space in the Shenandoah Valley and will showcase premium seating areas similar to Bridgeforth Stadium. Such features include a club level, private suites and hospitality spaces, along with a pre-event space for JMU students. The arena will also have cutting-edge technology, including a four-sided video scoreboard and ribbon board.
The basketball operations facility will be attached to the arena and will serve as the home of the JMU men’s and women’s basketball programs. The operations facility will house first-class offices, locker rooms, training spaces, meeting rooms and a full-court practice facility with six shooting stations.
“This will be a game changer for our program,” said women’s basketball coach Kenny Brooks. “We compete nationally for recruits and this project will help us secure those top-tier student-athletes.”
Men’s basketball coach Matt Brady echoed Brooks’ comments, stating, “College basketball is all about recruiting and this facility will give us an edge in attracting the highest-caliber student-athletes to JMU. The training spaces will set a new industry standard and allow us to develop our student-athletes to reach their potential on and off the court.”
The university has established a fundraising goal of $12 million, and all support must be secured before construction on the project can begin. No formal construction timeline has been set but the University is actively fundraising.
“It’s critical that our supporters make commitments so this project becomes a reality,” Bourne noted. “Unlike the Bridgeforth Stadium expansion, when we announced a specific construction start date, this project will not begin until we reach our fundraising goal.”
For more information or to support the project, please contact the Duke Club Office at 540.568.6461.
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