Duquesne University Announces UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse and Major Renovation
Duquesne University announced today plans for a comprehensive renovation of the A.J. Palumbo Center.
Set to break ground in March, the modernized and re-imagined facility will be named UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse in honor of men's basketball legend and NBA trailblazer Chuck Cooper, who captained Duquesne University's men's basketball team before going on to become the first African-American to be drafted into the NBA in 1950.
"To see my father's alma mater name this premiere athletic facility in recognition of his legacy is an incredible honor," said Chuck Cooper III, president of the Chuck Cooper Foundation. "Our partnership with Duquesne stems all the way back to my father's time when he played for the Dukes in 1947. At a time when barriers were still left to be broken, my father's team and the athletic department of Duquesne University showed overwhelming support, teamwork, and leadership in progressing the inclusion of black athletes. In the face of resistance and adversity to this, Duquesne stood by my father. Duquesne has always had an unwavering commitment to excellence and progress, and I am so honored that my father's legacy will be a part of this advancement which will so greatly benefit the future students and athletes of this school."
The project will create a consolidated, total performance center as well as house a new game-day layout. Additionally, the renovation will add significant square footage to the building site and will positively impact every aspect of the student-athlete experience. Beyond Duquesne Athletics, the facility will serve as a center for community and campus engagement, events and activities.
"UPMC is thrilled to be a leading partner with Duquesne University on this exciting renovation to this important space to be enjoyed not only by the students, staff and faculty here, but also by our Uptown neighbors," said Leslie C. Davis, senior vice president, UPMC; and executive vice president and chief operating officer, UPMC Health Services Division. "UPMC remains firmly committed to Uptown - as a health care provider and as a community partner. We applaud Duquesne University's leadership team for its vision of excellence and desire to provide nothing less than world-class facilities and services for this local community and beyond."
The long-term strategic partnership between UPMC and Duquesne University will develop and support mutually beneficial sports performance, sports medicine, employee health and productivity, fitness and nutrition, health and wellness as well as related education and community engagement programs and services to sustain and advance the missions of both organizations. The partnership will focus on establishing an integrated platform of services and capabilities that will benefit Duquesne students, student athletes, employees and dependents.
"The UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse is a spectacular symbol of UPMC's ongoing passionate commitment to providing long-lasting health and wellness benefits to the university community as well as the people and businesses and visitors to this entire region," said Diane P. Holder, executive vice president, UPMC; president, UPMC Insurance Services Division; and president and CEO, UPMC Health Plan. "We can only do this type of extensive collaboration with organizations who truly share our vision of excellence, like Duquesne does, and so we are honored that they chose us."
"A newly revitalized facility will be not only at the heart of our campus but at the heart of this entire community," Duquesne University President Ken Gormley said. "This exciting renovation is an important next step in furthering one of Duquesne's key strategic initiatives. Just as Duquesne helped to build Pittsburgh at the turn of the 20th century, Duquesne now plays a central role in the development and sustainability of the city's Uptown EcoInnovation District and the entire region around us. This all would not be possible without the generous support of our leading partner, so I extend our sincerest gratitude to UPMC and everyone who has made a commitment to make this project a reality."
In addition to private and corporate support, the University has been awarded a grant from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP). The RACP is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Pennsylvania Office of the Budget that was developed for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic and historical improvement projects.
"We are humbled and blessed to have received so much support from a long list of benefactors," Dave Harper, director of athletics, said. "We aspire to be a highly-valued member of the Atlantic 10 and Northeast conferences. As we continue to implement our athletics strategic plan, this project gives us the tools to target academic and competitive performance as we work to build our brand locally, regionally and nationally."
To view and learn more about the extensive physical, performance and programmatic changes as well as their impact on student-athletes, visit DuquesneAthleticsFacilityRenovation.com.
Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.