The University of Louisville broke ground Thursday on the Thorntons Academic Center of Excellence, which will be built located beneath the Norton Terrace at the south end of the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and is expected to be completed within the next 14 months.

“This is an exciting day for our department because this project is finally a reality,” said Tom Jurich, Vice President and Director of Athletics. “I’ve always said that we aren’t progressing unless we see cranes in the air, and today is definitely progress because construction will begin shortly. This project is the missing piece in the evolvement of our department, and is one of the most important projects we’ve taken on during my time at Louisville. This will be one of the finest academic centers in the entire country, and I’m thrilled for all of our student-athletes that we have begun construction.”

The state-of-the-art Thorntons Academic Center of Excellence will house the academic operations and provide a central location for all student-athletes and academic staff, and further assisting UofL student-athletes to excel in the classroom.

The 40,000-square-foot center will feature tutorial areas, a high-performance training table to feed the student-athletes, computer laboratories, and office and classroom space that will serve over 750 student-athletes across the Cardinals’ 23 sports on a daily basis.

Several key contributors helped support the funding of this project. Thorntons made the lead $3 million gift to the project, and in conjunction with Cardinals’ fans, helped raise approximately $6 million to their matching gift. A total of $2.5 million dollars was raised through the generosity and partnership with the iconic brand of Maker’s Mark, while Stites and Harbison demonstrated their belief in the academic mission of the athletic department by committing $2 million to the project.

A construction company has yet to be determined, but work on the $14.5 million facility is set to begin in May of 2015 with a completion goal of May of 2016.

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