Seattle Pacific University and the Seattle Storm announced today that they have reached agreement on a five-year partnership for the Storm to use Royal Brougham Pavilion as the Storm’s practice facility.
“The Storm’s ethic of athletic excellence combined with community collaboration is a great fit for the University,” said Erin O’Connell, SPU Athletic Director. “They are not only among the world’s best players on the court but they are also wonderful role models for our students. Our coaching staff, faculty and students are excited to have this unique opportunity for educational and professional development,” she added.
The practice facility agreement with SPU will include a new, professional length court installed at the lower level of the Pavilion, located on Nickerson Street across from the main SPU campus, as well as shared use of the Pavilion’s upper-level courts when not in use by SPU for classes or practices. The Storm will be the primary user of the new court during the WNBA season, from May through September, which falls largely in SPU’s summer break period. In the Storm’s offseason, when SPU teams and classes are busier, the new court will be used by SPU. The Storm and SPU will also collaborate on clinics for coaches and kids and on internships for SPU students.
“This agreement with SPU means our players will continue to have a first-rate professional court to practice on, along with space for trainers, strength conditioning and coaching staff, literally down the road from our home court at KeyArena,” said Storm ownership group chair Dawn Trudeau.
“We looked across the region at a number of options," said Storm co-owner Anne Levinson, who led the Storm’s search for a new practice facility and the discussions with SPU. "We had another goal of wanting to be good neighbors as well. SPU shared our vision of addressing the need for a practice facility in a way that benefited more than just the team.”
“Thanks to the collaborative spirit of the Gates Foundation, we were able to structure the transition from The Furtado Center to have time to arrange for reuse of as much of the building materials and fixtures as possible and to create this new partnership. This is a great outcome for SPU, for the Storm and for the community,” Levinson added.
Since 2000, when the Sonics organization added the WNBA Storm, the Storm practiced at The Furtado Center, a facility built and owned by the Sonics on a parking lot across from the Seattle Center. In 2005, that land was sold by the City to make way for the new Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters, with continued use allowed by the Sonics & Storm until 2010, as long as the Sonics played at KeyArena. Force 10 Hoops L.L.C. purchased the Storm from the Sonics in March of 2008 and retained the right to continued use. When the City and Sonics terminated the Sonics’ KeyArena lease, Force 10 Hoops negotiated a new KeyArena lease for the Storm, with an option to have a facility as part of a redeveloped KeyArena, and worked with the Gates Foundation so that the Storm could continue to use The Furtado Center through the end of 2009.