Feb. 11, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Construction crews broke ground Tuesday afternoon on the foundation of the Tennessee volleyball program's new practice facility.
The facility is currently in Phase I of construction and is being built adjacent to Regal Soccer Stadium and will feature three courts, a locker room and lounge, equipment room, film study room and coaches' offices. It will have convenient access from Neyland Drive.
In attendance for the groundbreaking were Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart and Lady Vol volleyball Head Coach Rob Patrick, along with support staff and members of the volleyball team.
"It's exciting beyond words because we've been two years in the process," Hart said. "People have been very patient, including Rob (Patrick) and our team. It's very exciting when you finally get to that culmination point where it becomes real."
"The student athlete is why we do what we do. We're a student-athlete centered athletics program. Anytime we can bring a new facility online, which they get excited about and feel good about, it generates excitement and gives us an edge in recruiting. It's a tangible commitment to the student-athletes and to what we're trying to accomplish."
"This is something that has been in the works for a while," Coach Patrick said. "I really appreciate the administration, Mr. Hart and Mr. Gilbert working very hard over a long period of time to get this done."
"It's really for the players. They have a place now to call home. It's a place they can go and really feel like they can own. It's going to make a difference in recruiting and the way we are able to train. I can't thank my assistants enough or the players that came before for the obstacles they've had to overcome and still be able to be successful."
The volleyball practice facility is part of the Campaign for Comprehensive Excellence, which supports the University of Tennessee Athletics Department mission to inspire and support student-athletes in the pursuit of greatness.
The Campaign for Comprehensive Excellence aims to return Tennessee to the top of the nation's elite programs while positively impacting key areas of the student-athlete experience. The campaign began on July 1, 2013, and will continue until June 30, 2016. During this time, UT Athletics Department has set a goal to raise $154.2 million in annual, capital, endowment and planned gift commitments through the leadership and generosity of its donors. Members of the campaign will play a key role in enhancing the lives of Tennessee student-athletes while investing in the vision that Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart has challenged student-athletes, coaches and administrators to achieve since arriving at UT in 2011.
"It's very imperative that we were able to get this project off the ground because it was a project that we've been discussing for the past two years," Hart said. "Our fans have been absolutely unbelievable in the way they have responded to our Campaign for Comprehensive Excellence and they've made this facility possible through their generosity and their contributions. I applaud our donors and our fan base, both of whom are helping us fulfill our commitment to our student-athletes."
"All of the facilities that the administration is building are top notch," Patrick said. "Student-athletes can come to Tennessee and reach all of their athletic goals here."
The estimated cost of the facility is $3 million and is expected to be completed for the 2014 season. The contractor working on the project is Rouse Construction and the architectural firm is Studio Four Design.
To learn more about the Campaign for Comprehensive Excellence and see renderings of the Phase I & II facility priorities, visit TENNESSEEFUND.ORG.