New Cyclone hoops home getting close to done

Iowa State’s $8 million basketball practice facility is nearly complete.

Or at least it looks that way from the outside. Workers this week were putting some finishing touches on the exterior of the building, located well off campus in west Ames at the intersection of Mortensen Road and South Dakota Avenue.

There still is plenty of work to be done inside: electrical, painting, decorating, etc.

The facility will have separate gymnasiums for the men’s and women’s teams, locker rooms, player lounges, a film room, coaches’ offices and a sports medicine/training room area.

“It is going to make the experience for our student-athletes so much better,” Cyclone men’s coach Greg McDermott said. “It’s going to have everything we need.”

The basketball and volleyball teams in the past have shared time at Hilton Coliseum and on-campus buildings State Gym and the Forker Building.

No longer.

The land for the new facility was donated by local developer and Cyclone booster Dickson Jensen. Original plans to build next door to Hilton Coliseum were scrapped when Jensen offered up the location, which made far more sense financially for the athletic department, which is footing the entire bill.

Every team in the Big 12 Conference’s South Division, plus Kansas and Missouri has basketball-only practice facilities. Nebraska, Kansas State and Colorado either do not or are in the midst of fund-raising or constructing one.

ISU’s new building will help recruiting efforts and give current players a 24-hour-a-day venue to work on their games.

“It will enhance their ability to be as good a basketball player as they can be,” McDermott said. “In the past we’d go one place to get a sore ankle treated, another to lift weights and another place to shoot free throws. All of sudden, that can be done under the same roof.

“I’m sure they will take full advantage of using it, probably on a daily basis.”

September was the target time for its opening.  It’s looking like it could be sooner.

The men’s program currently is sharing space inside offices at Hilton Coliseum with the volleyball program, which will be the new tenant of the building.

There will be general “gameday” space for both basketball coaching staffs to use on days of home games. That area is what the women’s program currently is using.

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