Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wvu Outlines Renovations for Athletic Facilities

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wvu Outlines Renovations for Athletic Facilities

Article excerpt

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- When West Virginia moved from the Big East to the Big 12 in 2012, athletic director Oliver Luck asked his coaches to pay close attention to athletic facilities at other Big 12 schools. One day, he hoped, their feedback and insights would help mold the long-overdue renovation of the Mountaineers' athletic campus.

That day, it appears, has arrived.

Luck unveiled the athletic department's $106 million facilities renovation proposal at a news conference Tuesday at WVU Coliseum. The plan is awaiting approval from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, which meets April 25.

"Mon County is booming," Luck said of West Virginia's Monongalia County. "It's an exciting time to be able to say we're injecting $125 million of capital improvements into the local community."

The plan will be funded by a $75 million bond made possible by guaranteed revenue from the Big 12 Conference, $25 million raised by the Mountaineer Athletic Club and $6 million from West Virginia's multimedia rights contract with IMG.

The current proposal does not include the building of a new baseball park, a $20 million project expected to open next February. It will be the Mountaineers home field and, perhaps, home to a minor league team. Without the affiliation with the Big 12, which paid nearly $30 million to each member school in 2013, the proposal would be unrealistic.

"It doesn't take a Ph.D. in mathematics to run those numbers," Luck said.

At least 50 percent of funds will be directed to the football program and upgrades to Milan Puskar Stadium, he said. Immediate projects include building a new team meeting room, which has a tentative completion date of mid-December, and renovating the entrances and concourses within the next two years.

The stadium has held up thanks to "preventative maintenance," Luck said, but fans deserve a better stadium experience. …

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