Numerous gifts of all sizes have set the construction underway. The largest contributions came from Ron and Beverly Shivers (second and third from left, above) and Greg and Suzie Burt (third and fifth from right, above).

Below, Richard Carter, senior guard, puts up a shot.

It all started with a sizable bag of loose change.

While the coins collected by Tristan Clubb added up to $10, his donation to distinctlyDrake started something much bigger—the fundraising efforts for an $8.5-million basketball practice facility.

Richard CarterMore than a year after Director of Athletics Sandy Hatfield Clubb’s teenage son put the ball in play, construction is in full swing on the state-of-the-art building. Now taking shape on the northeast side of The Knapp Center, the completed facility will feature two 12,000-square-foot practice courts, men’s and women’s locker rooms, a hospitality suite, and top-notch team meeting and film study rooms. Supporters hope the newest digs in the Missouri Valley Conference will give the Bulldogs an added competitive edge.

Those supporters are numerous: 145 gifts of all sizes were made to the project. The largest contributions came from Ron and Beverly Shivers and Suzie and Greg Burt. Both families have a strong connection to Drake.

Suzie Burt’s family has a long history of involvement with the University—both her grandfather and father as well as her mother, Maddie Levitt, supported Drake with their time, talent, and treasure.

“My mom felt it was truly a privilege to take a leadership role in elevating the University to another level of national prominence,” says Suzie Burt, who recently joined the Drake University Board of Trustees. “I look forward to carrying on her legacy and hope that our gift will contribute to elevating the national stature and reputation of Drake’s basketball program.”

The Shivers family has its own history with Drake. Beverly was a longtime receptionist at Goodwin-Kirk Residence Hall, retiring in 2013 after 23 years of employment at the University. The couple’s leadership gift significantly propelled progress on the practice facility, which when completed will carry the Shivers’ name.

“Our mission is to provide an exceptional learning environment for our students, and this promise extends to our athletics programs,” President David Maxwell said at the ground breaking in November. “This facility will enhance learning for our student-athletes in the same way a classroom renovation improves the academic experience.”

The practice facility won’t just benefit student-athletes. The extra space improves access to additional opportunities for every student: With basketball players drilling in their new space, the gym in the Bell Center will be more readily available for student activities and wellness efforts, and The Knapp Center will be open for more large-scale community events.

University officials hope the echoes of bouncing basketballs and squeaking athletic shoes soon fill the new facility; construction is scheduled to be completed before the launch of the 2014–2015 season.

Watch the construction webcam.

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Last Modified: 07/12/2013 09:15