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Aug. 4, 2006

Charlottesville, VA – When the plans were announced for John Paul Jones Arena, a heavy emphasis was made about the diverse nature of the facility. Thursday the UVa football team found out first hand about one of its many benefits. And they loved it.

When the players reported to camp, they were the first Virginia athletics team to enjoy the new dining hall located off the mezzanine level. Equipped to feed multiple teams at the same time, the new training table serve all of Virginia’s athletes, not just football.

“This place is first class, every college should have a room like this,” said senior wide receiver Deyon Williams. “We have lot of room, there are flat screen TVs everywhere, and we can get a good meal. It is a nice environment and allows us to be comfortable and relax a bit around practice.”

Prior to this year, the team never had a permanent dining facility. The team had switched places from University Hall to trailers in the parking lot as a training table.

“We have come a long way to get to this point,” said running backs coach Anthony Poindexter, who played for the Cavaliers from 1994 to 1998. “When I played here, we ate in the lobby of U-Hall and for a time in some tents in the parking lot. Now there is a great place for the team to have some food, watch TV, and relax. Also, since other sports will be using it as well, it will allow all the student-athletes at the University to spend time with each other.”

The new facility will not only aid the current Cavaliers, but also help recruit the future ones. The new dining room will be a key stop during the visits by prospective student-athletes.

“We needed these kind of accommodations,” said junior nose tackle Allen Billyk. “When I was recruited, they didn’t show us the trailers where the team ate. This place is a tool that we will use to attract players to come here. It is a great facility in a great location in the arena that we are excited to have.”

In addition to the seating area in the dining room, the facility has a full kitchen, which allows the staff to cook all the food on-site, which was not the case at the trailers in past years. Chef Tom Fiammetta says that when the football team dines, they prepare for twice as much food.

“If we are expecting 150 people to eat, we will cook for 300 people, and that usually is about right,” he said. “Having the kitchen here also allows us to expand the menu and offer more upgraded choices. We think this is a place where all athletes here can come and get a good, nutritious meal in a nice atmosphere.”

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