Jeff Bourne, Director of Athletics at James Madison University Addresses JMU Nation
June 21, 2019
For much of our country, summer offers a chance to unwind and enjoy various travel, recreational and family opportunities. While that is also true for our athletics staff, summer continues to be a busy time when it comes to summer course work and off-season training for our student-athletes, recruiting windows for our coaches, various on-campus camps and plenty of prep work across all our various units to position ourselves to sustain our collective success in 2019-20.
Summer on a college campus also means construction and it will be a busy summer for S.B. Ballard, Mosley Architects and all the subcontractors and other folks hard at work on the new Atlantic Union Bank Center on East Campus.
I recently had the opportunity to experience a personal tour of the site with project lead Matt Cavey of S.B. Ballard. It’s one thing to see the plans on paper, but it’s incredible to walk the structure in progress and feel the building starting to take shape. I’d like to share my behind-the-scenes tour with you, our loyal fans.
During the tour I was particularly struck by the intimate feel of the seating bowl. Simply put, every seat will put you right on top of the action. With the addition of multiple technological upgrades, it will be one of the best environments for college basketball to be found among our peers.
In addition to the seating bowl, the other aspect setting this facility apart from our peers is the basketball success wing of the building. We have worked meticulously to ensure that our coaches and student-athletes have all the tools they need to maximize their experience at James Madison. A practice court, academic success area, strength training room, sports medicine area, locker rooms, team meeting rooms, coaches offices and more have all been planned carefully. Simply put, it will be a game changer for these programs. Much of the early part of construction has focused on the seating bowl, but this basketball success wing will begin to take shape very soon.
In addition to the video above, you can keep up with construction progress daily via our live cameras.
If you happen to see any of the contractors or subcontractors around town, as well as the JMU Facilities Planning & Construction team, please be sure to thank them for their dedication to this project. Everything about the project and about their approach to their labor has been first class.
In late May, it was announced that the name of the building has officially transitioned to the Atlantic Union Bank Center, following a series of acquisitions for our naming partner. While the name may have changed, the people behind our partnership are the same. The Atlantic Union Bank representatives continue to be excited about the partnership with James Madison University and have been valuable partners and advocates as this building continues to take shape.
You likely also saw the additional partnership with UVA Health Systems, which included logo placement on the court as well as the naming of the arena’s new sports medicine area. The link above includes a visual of the new facility’s court design. We are grateful to UVA Health Systems for their continued involvement with JMU Athletics as they have been a critical partner to provide orthopedic care to our student athletes for over two decades.
Finally, coinciding with the naming update in May, we launched a new feature page for the Atlantic Union Bank Center. Here you can view updated renderings of various spaces, including those of interest to project donors. You’ll also find information on naming opportunities that still exist within the facility, a donor charter wall to be placed in the concourse as well as ways to continue to support the overall project fundraising goals. I encourage you to visit this page to learn more about this transformational venue.
The first functional aspect of the Atlantic Union Bank Center will actually come on line this fall with the opening of a 1500-vehicle parking deck. While this deck will be significant to support events in the facility, it will also significantly alleviate parking concerns during the regular academic operating hours of our campus and all activities and classes that occur on East Campus. Thanks to Senior Vice President Charlie King and his staff, we are pleased to be able to open this part of the project ahead of schedule.
Plenty of other behind the scenes work continues as we prep for all things related to opening this enhanced facility. As this work occurs, we hope that JMU Nation enjoys a fruitful and restful summer. In just a few months, we will see you back in our various venues to support another great year of competitive success for our Dukes!
Director of Athletics