RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – VCU took a major step towards upgrading its facilities on Thursday.

The school purchased 10.94 acres of land on Hermitage Road today and plans for it to be a part of the VCU Athletics Village, which will include a new indoor/outdoor tennis center, an indoor multipurpose facility, practice fields and a new baseball field  and replace the Franklin Street Gym facility.

“This acquisition represents an important step in the future of our university and our Central Virginia Community,” VCU President Michael Rao said in a statement. “It enables VCU Athletics to move operations from core campus areas and free them for much-needed new academic facilities, including a STEM building now under construction at the site of the former Franklin Street Gym.

“From a gender equity perspective, this project helps us align more properly with our peers across the country. We have taken steps to significantly improve the student-athlete experience,” he said.

“The majority of our sports have suffered from inadequate facilities for many years. We have worked on this part of the project for more than two years to get to this step. We have several steps remaining on other key parcels of land, but this project demonstrates our commitment to providing world-class Division 1 facilities so our student-athletes can compete for championships at the highest level,” VCU Vice President and Director of Athletics Ed McLaughlin said in a statement. “We look forward to working with local and state officials and community leaders to finalize the project soon and shape a vision that can transform the area.”

McLaughlin said the land will be bought through an $11.75 million through a low-interest loan and paid with revenues from athletics. No state or tuition funding will be used.