The executive committee of VCU’s Board of Visitors on March 25 approved the purchase of 10.94 acres of land on Hermitage Road in Richmond, Va., to be used as part of its future VCU Athletics Village.
The land is owned and occupied by Greyhound Lines, Inc., as a maintenance facility. The $11.75 million transaction, which has been in negotiations for many months, will close today, March 26, to meet constraints imposed by the close of Greyhound’s fiscal year on March 31.
“This acquisition represents an important step in the future of our university and our Central Virginia Community,” said VCU President Michael Rao. “It enables VCU Athletics to move operations from core campus areas and free them for much-needed new academic facilities, including a STEM building now under construction at the site of the former Franklin Street Gym.
“From a gender equity perspective, this project helps us align more properly with our peers across the country. We have taken steps to significantly improve the student-athlete experience,” he said.
The Athletics Village project is one that will contribute to the economic and cultural vitality of the Richmond area, Rao said.
Besides replacing the Franklin Street Gym, the One VCU Master site plan also calls for vacating the Thalhimer Tennis Center located near the center of VCU’s Monroe Park Campus. Under the plan, the VCU Athletics Village includes a new indoor/outdoor tennis center, an indoor multipurpose facility, practice fields and a new home for baseball.
“The majority of our sports have suffered from inadequate facilities for many years. We have worked on this part of the project for more than two years to get to this step. We have several steps remaining on other key parcels of land, but this project demonstrates our commitment to providing world-class Division 1 facilities so our student-athletes can compete for championships at the highest level,” said Ed McLaughlin, Vice President and Director of Athletics. “We look forward to working with local and state officials and community leaders to finalize the project soon and shape a vision that can transform the area.”
McLaughlin said the purchase is being financed through a low-interest loan to be paid with Athletics Department revenues. He said no state or tuition funding is involved in the transaction.