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U. to get new hoops center

After years of sharing the Jon M. Huntsman Center, the Utah men's and women's basketball teams will both enjoy their own floors and coaches offices when a new basketball training facility is built, most likely within the next three years.

Coach Jim Boylen and athletic director Chris Hill confirmed Friday that a new basketball training center for the men's and women's teams will be built just northwest of the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

While the new facility has no timetable, it is expected to be completed within the next three years and will cost approximately $14 million. It will have full-sized courts for both the men's and women's teams as well as offices for the coaches and training facilities for the players.

"We've got a great place here and this is another piece to rebuilding this program," said Boylen. "We've got a great arena and a great campus and this is another recruiting tool. It takes us to a new level and that's why I'm excited about it."

Hill acknowledged the new basketball center will be part of several new additions to Ute athletic facilities, including a new track, women's softball field and improvements to the Smith Football Center.

"We're still in the early planning stages," Hill said. "Everything's a matter of fundraising and we're going to work aggressively at it. The timing will be based on fundraising and other issues."

The new three-story basketball facility will be built between the two HPER West Buildings, just west of the swim natatorium and only yards from the Huntsman Center.

Hill said the track, which will be located north of the current softball field, will be the first of the new facilities to be built, starting early next year. He said the university began a major capital campaign about a month ago and how fast money is raised will determine when the various athletic facilities can be completed.