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UB breaks ground on new field house

UB president, director of Athletics, donor and UB commentator speak at ceremony

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UB President Tripathi, Director of Athletics Allen Greene and others used commemorative blue and white shovels and hard hats to break ground on a ceremonial mound of dirt representing the start of the field house construction Saturday afternoon.

The $18 million facility will be built directly next to the stadium with an opening date targeted for spring 2019. Fences have already been placed around the area of planned construction.

Tripathi, Greene, donor Brittany Acevedo and Bulls commentator Paul Peck spoke at the event.

The event also commemorated the Murchie family and Tunney Murchie for their donation of $3 million dollars toward the field house. The entire Murchie family was in attendance.

“I would like to thank Tunney Murchie and the Murchie family for their longtime support of the university and our athletics program,” Tripathi said at the ceremony. “This day has felt like a long time coming and it gives me great pride to see us reach it at this moment.”

Tunney Murchie is a former UB student-athlete and played for the now-retired Division-I hockey team. As a result of the family’s donation, the field house will be named after the Murchies.

Acevedo, Tunney Murchie’s daughter, spoke on behalf of the Murchie family.

“The naming of this house is a superb honor and is reflective of who my father is,” Acevedo said in her speech. “Our family looks forward to seeing the University of Buffalo thrive as an academic institution and we thank you immensely for letting us be here as a family.”

Tripathi also thanked State Senator Tim Kennedy who was also in attendance, saying he “made this day possible.”

Tripathi detailed the benefits of the field house including year-round training and future recruiting. Despite reports that the field house would only be available for Division-I athletes and club sports, Tripathi said otherwise at the event.

“It will house the all-around student experience in terms of recreation activities, so not just student-athletes, but the entire university actually,” Tripathi said.

He also credited Greene as being a crucial part in the process.

“Normally we push things for football because football is the economic engine and vibrancy of our athletics department,” Greene said at the ceremony.“But also we have to understand that everybody benefits from this facility.”

Greene said the field house is crucial for all athletics' future success and would be applicable to all of athletics. Greene also thanked the other donors who had made contributions to the house.

“To see bulldozers, construction, dirt moving and fences, that is just a signal of progress and we are not done, ladies and gentleman,” Greene said. “We are going to lean on everyone in this community to help us build this athletics department.”

Athletics displayed plans for the field house along with performances by the UB Thunder of the East marching band and cheerleading team.

Greene credited football head coach Lance Leipold as a motivator for the project. Student-athletes and coaches from the soccer team, men’s basketball team and softball team were in attendance as well.

“We will make sure people around the country stand up and recognize that New York has an outstanding university right here in the city of Buffalo,” Greene said.

Thomas Zafonte is the co-senior sports editor and can be reached at thomas.zafonte@ubspectrum.com


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