City weighs UTSA’s $10 million request for basketball-volleyball training center

In a continuing effort to upgrade athletics facilities, UTSA has submitted a request for $10 million in funding through the 2022 City of San Antonio bond program to help build a basketball and volleyball training center on campus.

The financing plan calls for UTSA to leverage an additional $19.5 million through “philanthropic gifts” to construct the $29.5 million facility, according to a document released Wednesday afternoon by an official in the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department.

Officials from the university formally presented the request Tuesday night to members of a community bond committee overseeing parks proposals.

Final recommendations on all proposed projects — including streets, drainage, parks, facilities and housing — will be forwarded from the five community committees to the City Council and the mayor for consideration in January.

It is expected that the bond will be decided by the voters in May of 2022.

UTSA officials have said the 49,774-square foot training facility would be built adjacent to the Roadrunner Athletics Center of Excellence (RACE) on the west end of campus.

The facility would serve as a practice venue for the UTSA men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball teams. In addition, the community would have access to it for youth sports events.

University officials in recent years have made clear their intentions to upgrade all their facilities.

University president Taylor Eighmy has likened it to “pushing this big rock up a hill” in an effort to create an athletics program “as excellent as the rest of the university.”

The rock continued to roll again last month when UTSA announced that it would move all its 17 sports teams from Conference USA into the higher-profile American Athletic Conference.

On Oct. 21, at the press conference announcing a move to the new conference, Eighmy unveiled the school’s intentions to request funding from the city bond for the basketball/volleyball training center.

The request is in keeping with the university’s longstanding partnerships either with the city or with Bexar County to bolster athletics.

UTSA football, for instance, plays downtown at the Alamodome, which is a city-owned facility. The university also has accessed public funds for projects built at the UTSA Park West complex, the home of the school’s track and field and soccer programs.

Most recently, the university utilized $10 million from the 2017 city bond program to build the $40 million RACE complex.

The RACE serves as an all-purpose building housing athletic offices, in addition to areas for weight training, sports medicine, rehabilitation and academic support. Also, outside the building are practice fields for the football program.

The basketball/volleyball training center is planned as a facility that will connect with the RACE complex and will be used by varsity athletes for practice only. Games will continue to be played on campus at the Convocation Center, for the time being.

In the future, the university has said it wants to pursue other projects, including:

* New baseball and softball stadiums;
* A “standalone” facility, or an athletic building, for track and field and soccer at Park West.
* Also, a 10,000-seat competition arena for basketball and volleyball.