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Grahams donate $4M for two new U of S basketball courts
A $4-million donation from Ron and Jane Graham will be put toward new basketball courts at the yet-to-be-built Merlis Belsher Place. (supplied)
Published Thursday, December 8, 2016 6:27PM CST
The University of Saskatchewan received another big donation Thursday for the new Merlis Belsher Place.
Ron and Jane Graham donated $4 million to help build two basketball courts at the new arena.
“This is a true game-changer,” Huskies men’s basketball coach Barry Rawlyk said in a media release.
“Access to a facility such as this will greatly enhance the student-athlete experience for every member of our team and will further enhance our ability to attract top-level talent to the University of Saskatchewan.”
The donation will fund new courts, locker rooms and team rooms for the Huskies basketball teams, and may also be used to develop an athletic research area within the building.
More courts will allow the Huskie teams to train year-round and help the university host tournaments. Practice and training time for athletes who use the current PAC facility is restricted twice a year because the gymnasium is used for student exams in December and April, the university says.
“It’s a year-round commitment,” Ron Graham said. “It’s difficult for the university to attract tournaments, because the demands on the PAC are significant.”
He and his wife have donated nearly $20 million to the campus in their lifetime, and the university will be naming the main court at the PAC as Ron and Jane Graham Centre Court in their honour.
The couple’s most recent donation will be added to the $12.25 million alumnus Merlis Belsher gifted to the university in October for a new twin-ice facility.
The arena, which will replace the nearly 90-year-old Rutherford Rink, is expected to accommodate 1,830 spectators and be built with the potential to expand to 2,310 seats.