Seattle Pacific University needed to upgrade an aging facility. The WNBA's Seattle Storm needed a new place to practice. Both got what they wanted when the two groups reached an agreement that will allow the Storm to use SPU's Royal Brougham Pavilion as its practice court.
The Storm were forced to leave their former facility, the Furtado Center, after their old owners, the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics, moved to Oklahoma City. The Storm contacted Seattle Pacific Athletic Director Erin O'Connell to ask if she had any space to spare.
"Since the Storm's season is in the summer, it's ideal," O'Connell says. "It's a way to help them out and help ourselves as well."
Seattle Pacific benefits because the agreement will allow it to renovate the lower gymnasium of the pavilion through a three-way deal. The renovations are being financed with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, made possible by the Storm agreeing to special educational and community relations efforts. The Storm will be offering internships for Seattle Pacific students and may make appearances at university basketball camps and clinics.
"There were many things to be ironed out, and we put a lot of effort into making sure both groups were getting what they needed," O'Connell says. "We want to be good neighbors, but it's really a win-win for everyone."