Burcar Building in Northern Arizona toward a greater future

FLAGSTAFF, Arizona (AP) – Shane Birkar sits in the front row of the Great Hall as a thunderstorm rolls over the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff to the northern Arizona campus.

The wall of windows on the north side of the room provides a perfect view of the lightning strikes and the approaching rain through the pine trees.

The building in which the auditorium is located, the new $47 million Student High Performance Center, gives Birkar something he didn’t have four years ago as a coach for Northern Arizona: a state-of-the-art facility to show potential basketball recruits.

“It really changed the rules of the game,” Borkar said. “When we compete with a (similar) school, nobody has a better facility than us. I don’t say it to brag or say anything negative about another school, but nobody has that now.”

The Performance Center, which opened in April, may be the missing piece Burcar needs to get NAU back on track. The Lumberjacks haven’t attended an NCAA tournament since 2000 and have had a number-one win in five of the past seven seasons.

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