MORAGA -- Saint Mary's College announced plans last week to renovate McKeon Pavilion and build a new performance center for its student athletes.

The estimated $13 million project will get underway in the spring of 2015 with the goal of it being completed for the 2015-2016 basketball season.

Five hundred more seats will be added to McKeon Pavilion, which currently holds 3,500. Other renovations include new video boards, private suites, a hall of fame and hospitality room, renovated concession spaces, new restrooms, a reconfigured lobby space and a new facade and courtyard.

The back wall of the building will be torn down, providing room for much of the new seating.

Saint Mary’s Gaels’ Kerry Carter (3) attempts  a three-pointer while playing the American University Eagles in the second half of their game at
Saint Mary's Gaels' Kerry Carter (3) attempts a three-pointer while playing the American University Eagles in the second half of their game at McKeon Pavilion in Moraga, Calif., on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013. The Gaels defeated the Eagles 59-44. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

"It gives it more of an arena-type feel because there are four sides to the facility," said athletic director Mark Orr. "We like the atmosphere at McKeon and this project will certainly enhance that."

The new student performance center, which will be a two-story building behind the gym, includes a weight room, training and on-site sports medicine areas, a new women's volleyball locker room and athletic offices.

"The new training facilities will be top of the line, allowing full teams to train at the same time, and that helps build teamwork," Orr said. "You have more intense workouts and it maximizes athletic performance."


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A lead gift of $1 million from Kevin M. Nagle, chief executive officer of Envision Pharmaceutical Holdings, helped get the project off the ground. Saint Mary's is close to the halfway mark of its fundraising goal for the facility.

Saint Mary's began conceptualizing the project after its run to the Sweet 16 in 2010.

The news was announced to the public at halftime of Saint Mary's 88-73 win over USF on Jan. 11 as head coach Randy Bennett made his return to the Gaels after sitting out five games as a penalty for NCAA violations.

Images and designs of the new project are available at stmarys-ca.edu/sapc.

Follow Stephanie Hammon at twitter.com/stephhammon.

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