WVU Details Another Round of Athletic Facilities Renovations, Construction
“Most of the other Big 12 programs had a 10-year head start on us when it comes to facilities. We’re trying to catch up,” said WVU director of athletics Shane Lyons.
Coming off Phase 1 of West Virginia’s athletic facilities renovations, most of which have been or are nearing completion, Lyons announced another $100 million in capital projects as part of the “Climbing Higher” campaign to upgrade many facilities for Mountaineer student-athletes.
Phase 1 included many renovations that enhanced the fan experience, especially at Mountaineer Field and the WVU Coliseum, where the concourses were redone, including new concessions and restrooms as well as a number of aesthetic updates.
Phase 2 will focus more on the student-athlete.
“Some of these things are long overdue,” explained Lyons of this latest round of upgrades. “It’s a matter of us putting our noses to the grindstone and trying to make this happen over the next three to five years.”
Much of the Puskar Center, which is the operations home for Mountaineer football, will be completely renovated. With a price tag estimated to be $55 million, the improvements in the Puskar Center will include a new WVU locker room, a new visitor’s locker room, a new student-athlete lounge, a new equipment room, new coaches offices, new position meeting rooms and a new academic center. West Virginia had built an addition a couple years ago with a new team meeting room and just this week opened up a new training room and training table area. The Hall of Traditions will be moved to the front of the Puskar Center with these renovations. The Hartley suites and the weight room will not be part of this new work, as they each received upgrades in the not too distant past.
“Through the years there have been a lot of things we’ve done to the Puskar Center. We’ve added the new team room, the training room, the training table and the practice fields. These are the next area that sorely need addressed,” Lyons explained.
Of the $116 million spent for Phase 1, approximately $60 million went to the improvements to the concourse areas at Mountaineer Field. In addition, in the last five years, that facility has seen the construction of the new team room and training room, plus the complete renovation of the practice field. In all these previous improvements cost nearly $62 million, and now this work on the Puskar Center will bring the total price on upgrades to the football facility to approximately $112 million.
The total price for the new work in the Coliseum area is estimated to be $35 million. Within the Coliseum itself, most of the seats are slated be replaced. The cushioned seats near the floor will remain, as new ones were installed not long ago. But the blue plastic seats, which account for a vast majority of the 14,000 seats, are all original to the building, which opened in 1970. Those will be replaced with new one.
Besides new seating, WVU hopes to change the video boards and ribbon boards, add new LED lighting, resurface the floor complete with a new design and add another premium hospitality/lounge area.
The plan also calls for an upgrade to the Coliseum apron that surrounds the building, to get rid of the current red surface that Lyons has long disfavored.
In addition, when the WVU swim team moves to the new aquatic center in the fall of 2019, the Natatorium will be converted to a training center for Olympic sport student-athletes, complete with its own weight room, looker room and team lounge. The adjoining Shell Building will be expanded and renovated, and then the exterior of those facilities will updated. Every Mountaineer athletic program, other than men’s and women’s basketball and football, which have their own spaces, will utilize this new training center.
WVU’s outdoor track next to the Coliseum also will not be needed when the new track facility is completed at Mylan Park this fall. Thus the old track will be turned into a parking lot, providing an additional 500 spots for Coliseum events, which previously had slightly more than 1,600 spaces.
Next d00r to the Natatorium, the Cary Gym will get $5 million in improvements. Home to the Mountaineer women’s gymnastics program, that facility will get a new training room, added gym space, an upgraded locker room, a student-athlete lounge, a study center, team meeting space and a cardio/rehab space.
This latest phase of upgrades will also include the construction of a golf practice complex, which is expected to cost $5 million. West Virginia is in the process of putting together a lease/purchase agreement for the White Day Golf Course, which is a few miles down Rt. 73 off the Goshen Road exit of I-79. This 93-acre parcel will be turned into a golf practice facility, which will include a team clubhouse and locker room, six indoor hitting bays that lead out to a driving range, a short game area with a putting green and a six-hole practice course that can be configured into 27 different types of holes.
To view videos and renderings of these facility enhancements, visit WVUsports.com/ClimbingHigher