During a future season, renovations to the Pavilion will force the Villanova Wildcats to spend an entire season elsewhere.
What is known at this point is that the university wants to make significant changes to the Pavilion, which first opened in 1986 and is slated for a major overhaul. A good amont of work will be needed to make the 6,500-seat venue more competitive with fellow NCAA facilities, so Villanova appears to be considering a major renovation that would take place in one process rather than over multiple phases.
While the university received a $22.6 million contribution for the project from Bill Finneran earlier this year, it is still in the process of raising funds. The project’s timeline is therefore uncertain, but the basketball program is preparing for the transition to happen sooner rather than later. More from the AP:
“Earliest would be next year,” coach Jay Wright told The Associated Press. “It could be year after that, year after that. But it’s inevitable. And I think inevitable within the next two, three years.”
The Wildcats most logical new home would be the Palestra, the basketball cathedral on Penn’s campus and home of city hoops. Saint Joseph’s played its home games there in 2008-09 when its gym also underwent extensive renovations.
Bill Finneran made the largest athletic gift in Villanova history to give the Pavilion an overhaul and support the men’s program. Finneran is a 1963 Villanova alumnus and chairman and co-founder of EXOP Capital, a long/short hedge fund firm in New York.
Unlike some deep-pocket boosters, his gift didn’t come with a naming rights demand, and corporate sponsorship is on the table.
Once the university obtains a naming rights agreement, the picture of what happens to Wildcats should become a little clearer.