After what has been yet another disappointing season on The Bluff for the Duquesne men’s basketball program, Pittsburgh Sports Now has learned about some upcoming news that will give Dukes fans reason for optimism and hope for the future.
Sources tell PSN that a renovation of the AJ Palumbo Center has been approved in a recent confidential board meeting. The budget for the renovation is believed to be in the neighborhood of about $40 million dollars. This investment will facilitate a complete internal and external overhaul of the facility in an effort to update the structure that was built in 1988.
Some of the upgrades and changes to the facility include modernizing the exterior of the building, including the face of the Palumbo Center that looks out onto Forbes Avenue. The front of then building will be extended closer to the road to allow for the construction of private boxes.
Sources tell PSN that seating capacity will be slightly reduced by the addition of state-of-the-art luxury boxes as well as the addition of standing room areas in the corners of the arena. These areas will allow space for fans to socialize during the game while also providing excellent sight lines for the action on the court.
Other internal upgrades are said to include overhauls to the weight room and training facilities with top of the line equipment, the construction of an auditorium style theater for film study and meetings, and general aesthetic updates to the inside of the building to provide a modern, cutting edge look to the Palumbo.
Perhaps the biggest upgrade to the facility will include the creation of a brand new stand alone structure. We’re hearing that there are plans to build an indoor training facility that will be used by various Duquesne athletic teams as an on campus resource for training in the winter. This structure will be built on the field that currently sits directly behind the Palumbo Center and will be an asset to the athletic department as a whole.
Sources tell us that this project will take around a year and a half to complete. Due to the project timeline, Duquesne’s men and women’s basketball teams will not have a home for next season, much like Robert Morris as they go through the construction of their new arena that was recently announced. Sources are citing the Convention Center as a possible temporary home for Duquesne hoops, while Robert Morris will play at PPG Paints Arena.
An investment like this in the basketball program shows Duquesne’s commitment to long-term success and sustainability for its flagship athletic program. This upcoming announcement should bring excitement to fans, as well as raise the profile of the men’s and women’s programs both locally and nationally.
Top notch facilities can help Duquesne to be competitive in the Atlantic 10 in regards to attracting top level talent. It’s believed that the plans for the renovation were proposed by Duquesne athletic director Dave Harper, who was hired in September of 2015. Harper previously worked as the VP of Athletics at Dayton University. While at Dayton, Harper was involved with the men’s basketball program in a variety of ways, including fundraising and the hiring of coaches.
UPDATE (3:51 PM)-
**Pittsburgh Sports Now reached out to the Duquesne athletic department for a statement and Athletic Director Dave Harper released this statement:
“We are in the early stages of exploring facility options as part of our Athletics strategic plan. We have yet to determine details of scope and will continue to stick with our process until any plans are final.”