Alumnae Paul and Anne-Marie Queally donated a $7.5 million lead gift to begin fundraising efforts for The Queally Athletics Center, a basketball training and performance facility.

Scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2020, the new building will include a full-size basketball court, the men’s and women’s basketball offices and team locker rooms, a strength and conditioning area, an athletic training room with nutritional support, an academic area and will develop a Spider Heritage Hall.

“It really consolidates all of those areas into one facility,” Director of Athletics John Hardt said. “The more efficient we are in our facilities and programs, the better our student athletes can be.”

The structure will be built in the free space between Robin’s Center, Millhiser Gym and the Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness. Though architectural plans have not been finalized, conceptual plans involve upgrading the Millhiser gym, a structure built in 1920, and making it ADA accessible.

“As quaint and charming as it is, the building isn’t very functional,” Hardt said. “It will breathe new life into Millhiser.”

With the Queallys' contribution, half of the funds for the facility have been raised. The Queallys also made the lead gifts for the Queally Center for Admissions and Career Services and Queally hall in the Robins School of Business.

“I’ve learned that you don’t get anything done without someone contributing the lead gift,” Paul Queally said. “This is dedicated to men’s and women’s basketball, but this project will free up space in the Robin’s Center. By virtue, it will improve the other facilities.”

Hardt said he agreed that obtaining a lead gift was the most difficult part in moving forward with a capital project, but because of the donation from the Queallys, they will be able to continue with the plans.

“From a basketball standpoint, it is no longer that just Ohio State, UCLA have practice facilities,” Chris Mooney, the head coach of the men's basketball team, said. “It’s something that we’ll be able to utilize 24 hours a day and it’s just a good home for your basketball program.”

In the Atlantic-10, most schools now have these practice facilities that allow them to be more efficient with training and recovery programs, and also attract prospective student-athletes and families.

“In Division I athletics, they say if you’re standing still then you’re falling behind,” Hardt said. “We’re definitely committed to compete in A10 championships and this is an opportunity to maintain our position as one of the top programs in the league.”

After the remaining half of the fundraising has been raised, the project will begin construction, planned for spring of 2019.

Along with the basketball addition, administration members are planning a wellness building for the same area, Steve Bisese, vice president of student development, said. 

Though a separate project from the basketball facility, the well-being project will promote wellness for all students by placing CAPS, a new entrance to the gym, new gym features and the health center in one location.

“We also need to look at wellness more holistically," Bisese said. "One thing that has been a dream of mine is to have the health center and the CAPS center together.”

One-third of students at UR will visit CAPS before they graduate, which has more than doubled in the last 10 years, Bisese said. By having the health center and CAPS close together, students will be able to easily access all health programs.

This building will be placed alongside the basketball facility and will bring all health education, prevention and assessment initiatives under one roof. It will also provide a new cafe and patio, demonstrative kitchen and a room for mindfulness.

“The main concept is to think of wellness more holistically, with everything from what we eat to relaxing," Bisese said. "The idea is that it’s an easy-access, one-stop shop. Hopefully we’ll have healthier and happier students and it’ll be tied to retention and student-satisfaction.”

UR is in its first year of implementing the strategic plan, which includes wellness for all students and a continuation of improvements to facilities. Student groups that promote mental health awareness and sexual assault prevention will also have access to the space.

This plan cannot become a reality without capital, Bisese said, but he believes that donors will take interest in this plan. 

Paul Queally shared this sentiment.

“I believe in the University of Richmond,” Paul Queally said. “I’ve been blessed with my success, more than I could have imagined. With that, it’s fun to earn money, but it means so much more to give it away."

Contact news writer Stacey Dec at stacey.dec@richmond.edu.