VCU has bought nearly 11 acres of land in Richmond, Virginia, to be utilized for future athletic venues as part of its master plan for expansion.

The VCU Board of Visitors’ executive committee approved the purchase on March 25, which will be used as a location for an Athetics Village including a new tennis center with indoor and outdoor courts, an indoor multipurpose facility, practice fields and a new baseball facility.

“This acquisition represents an important step in the future of our university and our Central Virginia community,” said VCU President Michael Rao. “It enables VCU Athletics to move operations from core campus areas and free them for much-needed new academic facilities, including a STEM building now under construction at the site of the former Franklin Street Gym. From a gender equity perspective, this project helps us align more properly with our peers across the country. We have taken steps to significantly improve the student-athlete experience.”

Besides replacing the Franklin Street Gym, the site plan also calls for vacating the Thalhimer Tennis Center located near the center of VCU’s Monroe Park Campus. VCU Vice President and Director of Athletics Ed McLaughlin said the purchase will be financed through a low-interest loan to be paid with department revenues and no state or tuition funding.

“The majority of our sports have suffered from inadequate facilities for many years,” McLaughlin said. “We have worked on this part of the project for more than two years to get to this step. We have several steps remaining on other key parcels of land, but this project demonstrates our commitment to providing world-class Division I facilities so our student-athletes can compete for championships at the highest level.”