UNLV has announced a plan by a group of donors to construct a new, state-of-the-art basketball practice facility on its campus.
The group, led by Bob Mendenhall, also includes Maury Gallagher, Bill Paulos, Bill Wortman and Hope Anstett. They saw the need for a new facility and together created a 501.c.3 corporation that will build the new Mendenhall Center through Mendenhall's construction company.
"This is a huge addition to UNLV Athletics and the basketball program," UNLV head men's basketball coach Lon Kruger said. "We really appreciate the generosity of this gift and the interest in our program by these individuals."
The Mendenhall Center will be attached to the south side of the Cox Pavilion and will have a total of 38,000 square feet of space on three levels. Included will be two basketball courts, an academic area and film room, locker rooms, athletic training, strength and conditioning and equipment areas.
"This is a great day for our athletics program as well as our university," UNLV Athletics Director Jim Livengood said. "Today we are launching a project that will be a major asset to UNLV. The generosity of our donors is a testament to the excitement and enthusiasm that exists in this city and with our athletics program."
Groundbreaking is scheduled for this spring with a tentative completion date of spring 2011.
"Basketball has been a major 'friend raiser' for UNLV for years," said UNLV President Neal Smatresk. "In this fiscally challenging time for UNLV, we could not have done this without this generous gift. This facility will help take the Runnin' Rebel basketball program to the next level of success and will build an enduring legacy for our fans."
The facility will be built entirely through the private sector and, upon completion of construction, will be gifted to the university.
Robert "Bob" Mendenhall
Bob Mendenhall is the owner and chief executive officer of the Las Vegas Paving Corporation. Mendenhall invented and patented the Asphalt Recycling Process, as well as numerous other inventions that benefit the construction industry and help conserve natural resources. To date, a total of 47 different United States Patents have been issued in his name. He was inducted into the Nevada Inventors Hall of Fame in 1984 and continues to pursue patents of processes that improve the construction industry. Las Vegas Paving was named 2005 Contractor of the Year for its work on projects such as the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the Las Vegas Beltway, and U.S. Highway 95. In 1998, Mr. Mendenhall donated 420 acres of land to the Valley of Fire State Park.
Maurice J. "Maury Gallagher, Jr.
Maurice "Maury" Gallagher is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Allegiant Travel Company. He has been actively involved in the management of the company since he became the majority owner and joined the board of directors in June 2001. He has served as the chief executive officer since August 2003. Prior to his involvement with Allegiant, Mr. Gallagher devoted his time to his investment activities, including companies which he founded, among them, Mpower Communications Corp., a telecommunications company for which he served as acting chief executive officer from 1997 to 1999 and as chairman of the board from its inception in 1996 until March 2002. Gallagher was one of the founders of ValuJet Airlines, Inc., and was a principal owner and executive of WestAir, a commuter airline. Gallagher earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History at the University of California at Davis and an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley.
William J. "Bill" Paulos
An alumnus of the first graduating class of the UNLV Hotel College in 1969, Bill Paulos is a principal in Millennium Gaming, Inc., Millennium Mgt Group, LLC and Cannery Casino Resorts Capital Corporation. A casino boss since 1971, Paulos witnessed the casino industry's transformation into a business dominated by multi-billion dollar international companies. He started paid work at 13, washing dishes at a New Jersey hotel, moving up a year later to operating an elevator at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. He is a former Circus Circus executive who helped develop the Luxor, Excalibur and New York New York casinos. Millennium Gaming and its affiliated firm, Cannery Casino Resorts, run the Cannery Casinos and the Rampart Casino in Summerlin.
William C. "Bill" Wortman
Bill Wortman is a principal of Millennium Gaming, Inc., Millennium Mgt. Group, LLC and Cannery Casino Resorts Capital Corp. He is a 1971 graduate of the UNLV College of Business with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. Wortman began his casino career as an executive with then-Caesars World in 1978. He eventually became CFO of Caesars Palace. As a senior executive with Caesars, Wortman travelled extensively to Asia to develop premium player business for the Caesars' property in Lake Tahoe. His experience has provided an in-depth understanding of the high-roller market. In 1983, Wortman transitioned to the locals casino market with the acquisition of two rural slot houses, the Fallon Nugget and the Bonanza Inn & Casino, also in Fallon. He acquired the Nevada Palace in Las Vegas two years later. As the executive in charge, Wortman gained valuable experience and knowledge of the Las Vegas locals' market and the ability to create and market gaming products to Las Vegans and frequent Southern Nevada visitors.
Hope Anstett and her late husband, Joe (dec. 4/12/08), are long-time UNLV supporters and among UNLV basketball's greatest fans. They are founding members of the Runnin' Rebel Basketball Club (2002) as well as a member of the Founder's Circle (2008) for Black Mountain Institute. Hope is a 1957 graduate of the University of Oregon with a degree in accounting. She is a member of the Accounting Circle, a group of business leaders who support excellence in accounting education at Oregon. The couple made Las Vegas their home shortly after Hope's graduation where they were both actively engaged in the community. Hope has two adult children. Among many other things, Hope is an avid golfer.