March 31, 2011
NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana
announced Thursday that a 4,500-seat Convocation Academic Center
will be constructed across Washington Avenue and near the main campus on a site
bounded by Short, Palm and Stroelitz streets.
Test pilings were driven into the site earlier
this year. Construction is expected to begin in May, with anticipated
completion in late summer 2012.
The facility will include a 4,500-seat arena
suitable for athletic and other large-scale events. It will become the
home of Xavier men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball and
replace The Barn, a 1,300-seat gymnasium opened in 1937.
"This new arena will be a tremendous addition for
Xavier athletics," XU Athletics Director Dennis Cousin said. "It will upgrade
our already excellent programs and take them a notch higher. It will be a big
boost to us in recruiting."
The Convocation Academic Center also will contain
classrooms, offices and meeting spaces. A regulation-size auxiliary basketball court
also will be included to add flexibility in scheduling practices for
the basketball and volleyball teams.
"This is an exciting time for Xavier," women's basketball
coach Bo Browder said. "We've been blessed with a lot of fun, a lot of success
and a lot of great memories in The Barn. But I'm looking forward to
this new arena and creating some new memories."
A pedestrian bridge will be constructed across
Washington Avenue to help the Xavier community better access the new building.
And for Xavier athletics, the progress does not stop there.
"There also are plans to construct
tennis courts in the near future not far from the Convocation Academic Center," Cousin said. "This will give our
nationally ranked tennis teams the ability to not only practice on campus
but to also host dual matches, something we haven't done in decades."
Manning Architects' rendering of Xavier's Convocation Academic Center, which
is expected to be completed in late summer 2012.
Test pilings have been driven for the Convocation Academic Center, which will
be bordered by Short, Palm and Stroelitz streets.