‘Dukes’ flaunt advanced sporting venue

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US UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse debut Image: Syndey Bauer & Duquesne University

Duquesne University’s (a private university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US) new refurbished UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse opened its doors recently.

UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse opened as state-of-the-art sporting venue at Duquesne University. Completely renovated and essentially rebuilt – Duquesne finally has a state-of-the-art, $45 million arena called the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse, to honor the trailblazing Chuck Cooper.

Charles Henry Cooper, more popularly known as Chuck Cooper, was an American professional basketball player. He and two others, Nat ‘Sweetwater’ Clifton and Earl Lloyd, became the first African-American players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1950. He passed away on February 5th, 1984.

patch.com informed that the new facility was constructed using the shell of the former A.J. Palumbo Center and opened after an extensive sprucing up of the facility which lasted for 22 months.

UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse, originally known as A. J. Palumbo Center, is a 4,406-seat multi-purpose arena in the uptown area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US. The arena opened in 1988, and is part of Duquesne University.

Named after Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer and Duquesne alumnus Chuck Cooper, the facility enjoys six suites, 55 club level seats and four fan corners providing perfect sightlines to the playing floor. The fieldhouse also boasts wider concourses, improved concession areas, two high-definition Daktronics video boards, four lower-level ribbon boards and a new sound system.

A statement sent out by Duquesne Athletic Director Dave Harper stated, “While we had many obstacles along the way with the pandemic and challenging work environments, UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse opened due to the efforts of all involved with the project. While the opening is somewhat muted due to the pandemic, it doesn’t dampen our excitement.”

patch.com further informed that the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse lodges the Folino Sports Performance Center which is equipped with circa 10,000 square feet of training equipment, sports performance labs and a nutrition center for all student-athletes, as well as the Joe and Kathy Guyaux Player Development Center which boasts two regulation practice basketball courts.

The facility’s Gilliand Pavilion serves as the home of the Merle Gilliand Duquesne Sports Hall of Fame. Its PNC Leadership Academy, designed to give a shot in the arm to the student-athlete experience by offering comprehensive programing to facilitate success in the classroom as well as in the transition into life after college athletics, has also been completed within the Gilliand Academic Center for Success.

“One message I heard over and over again, was that we needed to bring our athletic program back to its glory days, not just in terms of victories, but in terms of the coaches and facilities that would lead the Dukes to greatness,” stated Duquesne University President Ken Gormley.

Gormley concluded, “This will be a place where dreams are lived and renewed for the next generation of Duquesne student-athletes and all members of the Duquesne family. Our basketball and volleyball teams will compete here, student-athletes will train here and students will have spaces where they can study and build community here. And alumni can gather here to cheer on the Dukes, see friends and continue so many great traditions. High school students, too, will get their first glimpse of the spirit of Duquesne during visits to this space.”

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