Duquesne University announces UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse


Photo Credit: (Duquesne Athletics)

Gage Goulding, Assistant News Editor

PITTSBURGH — Duquesne University announced in a press conference today that they will begin a massive renovation of their sports complex, the A. J. Palumbo Center.

The building, which will be renamed to the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse, is in honor of former men’s basketball player and NBA star Chuck Cooper, said the university in a press release. Being the first African American to be drafted into the NBA, Cooper made history in 1950.

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“To see my father’s alma mater name this premiere athletic facility in recognition of his legacy is an incredible honor,” said Chuck Cooper III, president of the Chuck Cooper Foundation. “Our partnership with Duquesne stems all the way back to my father’s time when he played for the Dukes in 1947. At a time when barriers were still left to be broken, my father’s team and the athletic department of Duquesne University showed overwhelming support, teamwork, and leadership in progressing the inclusion of black athletes. In the face of resistance and adversity to this, Duquesne stood by my father. Duquesne has always had an unwavering commitment to excellence and progress, and I am so honored that my father’s legacy will be a part of this advancement which will so greatly benefit the future students and athletes of this school.”

WATCH: UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse Renderings

The renovation will add square footage to the building as well as entirely change the game day experience.

“UPMC is thrilled to be a leading partner with Duquesne University on this exciting renovation to this important space to be enjoyed not only by the students, staff and faculty here, but also by our Uptown neighbors,” said Leslie C. Davis, senior vice president, UPMC; and executive vice president and chief operating officer, UPMC Health Services Division. “UPMC remains firmly committed to Uptown — as a health care provider and as a community partner. We applaud Duquesne University’s leadership team for its vision of excellence and desire to provide nothing less than world-class facilities and services for this local community and beyond.”

The partnership with UPMC comes only nine months after Robert Morris University and UPMC announced a partnership for RMU’s very own athletic center: the UPMC Events Center.

Highlights of the project include:

  • A modernized facade that engages the building as a major thoroughfare from the Bluff to the Uptown neighborhood
  • Wider, more accessible concourses with improved concession areas
  • Premium seating opportunities on the club and suite levels
  • Expanded and upgraded technology throughout the facility, including state-of-the-art video boards, concourse and club-level televisions, along with an upgraded sound system
  • An expanded sport performance center featuring a new weight room and nutrition bar
  • The Gilliand Center for Academic Success with a 150-seat Father Sean Hogan Lecture Hall and PNC Leadership Academy, academic commons and instructional rooms
  • An all-weather practice facility on the site of the current McCloskey Field
  • Renovated team locker rooms for men’s basketball, women’s basketball, volleyball, track and field, and cross country
  • Dedicated space for rowing training
  • New ticket office and team shop
  • New office space for coaches and athletics staff

The events center is scheduled to open in time for the 2020-2021 athletic seasons.