Grand opening for Mendenhall Center set for Jan. 19

Plans for the $11.7 million Mendenhall Center were unveiled almost two years ago, but now the facility is just about ready to be put to use.

UNLV first-year coach Dave Rice confirmed on Monday that the grand opening for the program’s 38,000 square foot structure will take place on Jan. 19. Specific details for the event have yet to be released by the athletic department.

It’s possible that UNLV could have its first practice at the Mendenhall Center could take place before then.

The facility is located just in front of the Cox Pavilion, and the naming rights belong to Las Vegas Paving owner and CEO Bob Mendenhall, whose family donated $7 million of the funds for the project. The other donators included Maury Gallagher Jr. — CEO of Allegiant Travel Company — Bill Paulos and Bill Wortman — principals in Millennium Gaming, Inc., Millennium Management Group, LLC and Cannery Casino Resorts Capital Corp. — and Hope Anstett, who along with her late husband, Joe, was a founding member of the Runnin’ Rebel Basketball Club and members of the Founder’s Circle for Black Mountain Institute.

The Mendenhall Center will be the new practice home for the men’s basketball program, keeping the staff from having to juggle its practice schedule between three venues moving forward depending on the Thomas & Mack Center’s availability. It also brings UNLV up to speed in the arms race that is current college athletics, and will help out big-time in recruiting efforts.

Stay tuned to for further details on the grand opening as they become available.