A group of dignitaries including UA president Ann Weaver Hart, second from right, Dr. David Lapan and athletic director Greg Byrne, far right, fling ceremonial dirt during a groundbreaking for the new C.A.T.S. Academic Center to be built along the former left field stands and field of Kindall/Sancet Field, Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, Tucson, Ariz. Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star 

Breaking ground 

About two hours before tip-off and across the street from the McKale Center ticket office, the UA broke ground on a new academic center for the school’s student-athletes.

The facility will be known as the C.A.T.S. Academic Center, and was brought about thanks to $4.5 million combined in donations from Steve and Margot Kerr ($500,000), Andrew and Kirsten Braccia ($2.5 million), Dr. David Lapan ($1 million) and an anonymous donor ($500,000).

“It’s a huge game-changer,” Byrne said. “It’s a big help for us from a recruiting standpoint. Families want to send their sons and daughters where they feel is that total commitment to them.”

It’s a $7.25 million project that’s expected to be completed sometime around October.