Nov. 8, 1999
NORMAN, Okla. -- The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation of Ardmore has pledged $8.17 million toward the University of Oklahoma's $16.3 million project to renovate Lloyd Noble Center and add a 63,000-square-foot facility for men's and women's basketball. It is the largest gift ever to intercollegiate athletics at Oklahoma.
"This gift will continue and enhance the legacy created by the Noble Foundation in 1975 when they made the first $1 million gift in OU history to build this multi-purpose facility and honor the late Lloyd Noble," said OU President David L. Boren. "With this new funding we will build new men's and women's basketball facilities that will be among the nation's finest and we will enhance the event facilities used by many thousands of Oklahomans each year."
OU will complete funding for the project through additional private gifts and bond funding. The Noble Foundation pledge was announced at OU's Reach for Excellence National Campaign Committee meeting Saturday, Nov. 6.
"The University has taken excellent care of the Lloyd Noble Center, but it is 25 years old and times change," said OU Regent Mary Jane Noble, Noble Foundation trustee. "We need fine facilities to attract and to keep fine athletes. The athletes deserve it. With the new practice courts, it also will free up the center for many other public and university activities."
The Lloyd Noble Center expansion and renovation project is expected to be completed in time for the 2001-2002 basketball season. The project features a nearly 63,000-square-foot addition to the south side of the center that will include two new full-sized practice courts, one for men's basketball and one for women's. Both OU basketball programs also will have new training rooms, locker rooms and spa/sauna rooms in the addition.
The addition and renovation project also will enhance Lloyd Noble Center for the wide variety of public events it hosts, including graduations, concerts and large meetings. These improvements will encompass renovation of the LNC parking lot and the arena ceiling, and a modernization of the electrical systems.
With this project, the OU Athletic Department will become a national leader in creating equal and outstanding facilities for both its men's and women's basketball programs.
"As the largest gift ever to intercollegiate athletics at Oklahoma, the Noble Foundation's pledge provides us immense momentum in the Lloyd Noble fund-raising campaign and our entire initiative of increasing private support for the Sooner athletic program," said Joe Castiglione, director of athletics.
"On behalf of generations of student-athletes and our fans, we're deeply grateful for the enormous generosity of the Noble Foundation. The gift initiates a call to action for Sooners worldwide to get involved in helping us build exciting new tradition of athletic success."
Both men's Coach Kelvin Sampson and women's Coach Sherri Coale believe the addition of the practice facility and the new and upgraded team and coaching facilities will have a tremendous impact on the success of their programs, particularly in the areas of recruiting top players and providing unparalleled facilities for training.
"The Noble Foundation's pledge represents an incredible commitment to the State of Oklahoma," Sampson said. "The Foundation's extremely generous act will give our basketball program the facility to be able to compete with anyone in the country. It also will greatly benefit the fans and everyone who cares about the university."
The gift to the women's basketball program is considered one of the largest private gifts ever made to women's sports, said Coale.
"This gift is huge in terms of women's athletics and is a tremendous statement of support," Coale said. "It speaks volumes to the public in the state of Oklahoma and across the country as to the importance of basketball and women's basketball, in particular."
Lloyd Noble, who died in 1950, was both an OU alumnus and one of the University's most notable leaders. He attended law school at OU, both before and after his service in World War I. In 1934, he was appointed to the OU Board of Regents, where he served two terms.
The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc. ranks as one of the 50 largest private, charitable foundations in the U.S. Since 1945, it has contributed more than $440 million to charitable purposes. Lloyd Noble named the organization to honor his father, Samuel Roberts Noble, a generous and charitable pioneer who operated a hardware business in Ardmore.
The Noble Foundation is among OU's most generous benefactors. Among the Foundation's most notable gifts to OU are the historic $7.5 million gift to the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History and $1.4 million to help establish the Presidential Professorship program. Other gifts have supported the Price College of Business, the David A. Burr Scholarship Endowment and the Huffman Physical Education and Recreation Center.
The Lloyd Noble Center project, expected to be completed in time for the 2001-2002 basketball season, will add nearly 63,000-square-feet to the south side of the center to include:
Level One (Event Floor Level):
- Two new full-size practice courts
- New basketball locker rooms for men and women
- New coaching locker rooms and related areas for men's and women's coaches
- New training rooms for men and women
- New steam/spa/sauna rooms for men and women
- Storage and laundry rooms for each team and a 5,000-square-foot storage room for the Lloyd Noble facility
- Office facilities for men's and women's basketball coaching staff
- Conference rooms with views of the practice courts
- Addition of public restrooms
- Addition of new concession facilities
- A possible outdoor roof terrace that could be used for a variety of special events
- An improvement of the arena's main south entrance also will be a part of the work on this level.
- Additionally, spaces within the existing building currently functioning as locker and training facilities will be renovated for other uses, both for athletics and the LNC facility, and an existing team meeting room will be converted for use as a weight training facility to be used by both the men's and women's programs.