MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Athletics director Oliver Luck said a $106 million campus-wide renovation project is necessary to meet the rising expectations of ticket-buyers and keep West Virginia’s facilities competitive with its Big 12 rivals.

A new 150-seat football team room could be completed by mid-December, to be followed by the expansion of concourses at Milan Puskar Stadium. The yet-to-be designed third phase would include expansion of the WVU Coliseum’s cramped concourses, complete with remodeled restrooms and concessions.

“Fans expect more, and they should expect more, because we charge them more money,” Luck said Tuesday during a news conference at the Coliseum.

A $75 million bond issue represents the largest financing piece of the project, in concert with $25 million from Mountaineer Athletic Club donations and $6 million from the school’s media-rights deal with IMG College.

It would mark the athletics department’s first dip into the bond market since 2003, when it remodeled the football stadium’s north end zone to include the 648-seat Touchdown Terrace. Aiming to pay off the bond with an incrementally increasing share of Big 12 revenue, Luck said the school also wanted to capitalize on low interest rates.

“A year from now the cost of borrowing might have risen significantly,” he said.

MORE: Watch Luck’s full Q-and-A session from Tuesday.

While WVU’s move to the Big 12 Conference spiked travel costs and fast-tracked spending on facilities, it also bolstered revenue to cover those expenses. The Big 12 paid out $22 million to each of its eight holdover schools last year, while newcomers West Virginia and TCU received a 50-percent share worth $11 million each. That share grows to 67 percent this May and 84 percent for the 2014-15 school year. The Mountaineers and Horned Frogs are scheduled to receive whole shares for 2015-16.

“If you look at the Big 12 payouts, which in turn come from Fox and ESPN, and compare those to what we were earning in the Big East, it doesn’t take a Ph.D. in mathematics to run the numbers,” Luck said. “Certainly the affiliation with the Big 12 has given us the financial capacity to do a bond.”

The initial phase also includes the addition of four LED video boards to placed in the corners of the football stadium, boards that will presumably show replays and game stats along with new display points for IMG-sold advertising. An events marquee will be positioned outside the Coliseum, at the interaction of Monongahela Boulevard and Patteson Drive.

The basketball coliseum opened in 1970 and the football stadium followed in 1980, during which time Luck played quarterback for the Mountaineers.

“A lot of our competition venues—primarily football and here at the Coliseum—have aged,” Luck said. “We’ve maintained them very well and they’ve aged very gracefully, but we’ve reached a point where we believe we need to upgrade these facilities.

“We don’t anticipate—at least in the next 10 or 15 years—building a new basketball arena or a new football stadium. That’s really prohibitive in terms of cost.”

Once the College of Physical Activity and Sports Science relocates to the Evansdale campus, the Coliseum concourses can be expanded by extracting space utilized currently for classrooms and racquetball courts.

Along with easing the bottlenecks of bodies, Luck said the project would shorten lines for restrooms and concessions. The men’s-room troughs and intermittent tiny restrooms have long been considered inadequate for the 14,000-seat venue.

“We are 102 restroom units short of what we need for a building of this capacity, and that’s significant,” said Luck, adding that there is room for an additional 21 points-of-sale. “If you go out at halftime and there’s 10,000 or 11,000 people, it gets pretty crowded.”

Luck put the timetable for Coliseum upgrades at two to three years, but said there are no plans to add luxury suites, an amenity desired by basketball coach Bob Huggins.

Coliseum parking has long represented a headache, leading hundreds of fans to park along the shoulder of busy Monongahela Boulevard. Luck said the repurposing of the baseball team’s Hawley Field, at least in the short term, could go toward an additional 250 parking spaces.

“We all know it’s tight—there’s not enough parking, certainly for men’s basketball games,” Luck said. “(Parking) is not a very attractive topic to talk about for a lot of folks, but any sports venue without adequate parking really becomes a white elephant very quickly.”

The project calls for the construction of a second locker room at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. Since the venue opened in 2004, visiting teams have been ushered into a temporary tent, which Luck said reflects poorly on WVU.

“There’s nowhere our girls go that they have to spend halftime in a tent,” Luck said.

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  • mad hatter

    i know we need the renovations, but could some of this money be set aside, to reduce the price of a ticket, and get rid of paid parking,,, just sayin.

  • Larry

    I can't comment on the men's rooms at the coliseum, but the ones at Mountaineer Field would be better if the toilets weren't covered in urine and vomit and filled with beer and miniature whiskey bottles.

    • J the C

      Obviously larry, you haven't been to a game in a couple of years. I am a season ticket holder and attender, and after the initiation of beer sales, I noticed a marked change in the condition of the men's rooms at Mountaineer Field. Specifically, I have noticed a dramatic decrease in little liquor bottles and puke, as well as a generally lower appearance of fans being drunk. BTW, I am near the student section in an area filled with young adults.

      • Larry

        I was at a game this past season and the toilet was exactly as described, it was horrific.

        • Dennis

          I agree with Larry... I don't know what stadium he was at, but side stepping piss and vomit and the bottles on the floor is very common at all the games at the stadium.

          • Larry

            Agree with Dennis, totally disagree with Concerned, and FNP.

          • FNP

            I can say i went to school there for 4 years and attended numerous games since and i've never seen the restrooms in that shape. You must be the type of ppl who go around looking for something to complain about.

          • Concerned

            Been to about 80% or so of games for past 30 years and I'll say the facilities have cleaned up the last 2 years. No pass out policy isn't popular, and I do miss it. But the fans are nowhere near the bad behavior as exhibited when I was in school and before. While I do not agree with luck on a lot, I do on these things.

    • mad hatter

      so, what's your point

      • Jay

        I think his point is obvious. When one pays good money for a football ticket, at the end of the day, he would like to take a dump on a toilet that isn't covered in beer, vomit, and broken glass. What is so difficult to understand about that? Perhaps a simple investment in restroom staff would better the fan experience.

      • Larry

        My point is I would much rather watch the games from the comfort of my own home.

  • Woodchu

    Tuition increase!

    • J the C

      No fool, ticket price increase!

      • southerneer

        actually the article or have someone that can read it for you...guaranteed money from the Big12 and guaranteed money from the IMG contract.

        I love it!!!

        • Lantz

          Yea u never been lied to huh...

  • Master of One

    Mr. Luck,

    Just put a winning football team on the field...that's all we ask.

    Just put a winning basketball team on the court...that's all we ask.

    • Master of One

      The Oliver Luck ERA....

      1. Spend Money...and lots of it.

      2. The football & basketball programs stink to high heaven.

    • southerneer

      Really? That's all we ask? Or I should say actual Mountaineer fans ask. WVU's athletic programs have had success going back to the 50's. WVU's major revenue producing programs will win again, just like Notre Dame did, just like Fl. State did and just like Florida's football team will. I know this because I've seen a losing season or 2 in my lifetime. I 've been there for the worst and I've been there for the biggest wins in school history whether it be BCS Bowls or conference championships or the NCAA Tournaments. WVU will win again and they will have great upgrades to their facilities as well. True fans want more than just wins and are willing to support the program they love. Who is your favorite team Master of None?

      • Hersh

        Well said, southerneer. Some of these fans think this is like managing their fantasy football team or something. These comment sections make me cringe most of the time.

        We were in a very precarious position a few years ago, with the relevance of our athletics programs on the line in terms of conference affiliation and financial feasibility. The Big 12 wasn't going to be plug and play and anyone who thought that needed to have their head checked. Recruiting, coaching and facilities all needed to step their game up BIG TIME. In fact, facilities and conference membership are probably the biggest factor when it comes to recruiting top level athletes and hiring and retaining quality coaches.

        I'm pulling for Dana to right the ship. We probably have the best group of recruiters I can ever remember at WVU and they will get us players. Our roster is starting to build some depth. Now we need to coach these guys up and develop them as they gain experience and get stronger. If these guys can't put it together in the next couple years, we'll have the financial means and commitment to facilities that will make this a very attractive place to be for a lot of quality coaches. Hopefully it doesn't come to that, but these types of investments are absolutely critical to the future of our programs.

        • caddisman

          Perhaps this money could have also been used to hire a football coach who has actually performed as a head coach previously!!

          • Roberteer

            Really? Like who? Bobby Bowden? Nick Saban? We fired both of them..
            Chip Kelky? Had an Interview with him.

            Rich Rod?

            Who?? Give me a list of 5 viable candidates?

            Jesus you people..... Does nobody understand how hard it is to recruit ti this school? & that when you under recruit or don't recruit anybody at all, it takes time to develop these players?

            Nope!! You're use to the winning year of 2005-2006... 9-3 big east co champs..

            With the best players in our history of our program, we couldn't win out the big east.....

            & we're expected to instantly win in the big 12? These teams aren't Cincy Uconn & Rutgers....

            In the 3 recruiting classes Dana has had, have been the best we've ever had.... In the history of our program... & that will translate..... But with the 12th toughest schedule in the country, it won't happen tomorrow.....

        • Alex

          @Hersh...... Great post.... So many on here do not understand anything except if WVU wins....

          • Lantz

            Jerry Jones ring a bell? We would all agree on upgrades but its possible to do it without the " Go big or go home" mentality. Were on this site because we care about our school. Take a venture to say fans would go without seating if it meant a BCS or national title

          • Alex

            One other thing .... There is no vaccine for stupidity....

  • David

    The one thing were expecting is a competitive football & basketball team not the sorry joke we've seen the last 2 years..

    • GoEers

      So you don't believe the basketball team was competitive this year? The 2012 football team wasn't competitive? Do you think that every team in D1 wins all their games and they all play for the national championship each year? And if you do then you live in a bubble.

      • susanf1218

        No, they weren't competitive. End of story.

        • GoEers

          ask Kansas, Iowa St., Oklahoma, and Baylor if they were competitive

          and susan since you're a marshall fan, feel free to ask their coach how competitive wvu was...that's if he is still in Huntington!!


  • Joe

    I remember when Mountaineer Field first opened. The press box was a great source of pride ....largest in the of facilities on par.

    It became known during the 80s as one of the most intimidating venues to play in along with LSU and Death Valley.

    Would love to get back to that point.

  • Kelly

    Wow! Is that actually Oliver Luck in public directly addressing supporters and alumni with net worth's less than 1 million dollars?!

    I honestly had started to believe he was no longer here and another university charade was taking place.

    Guess we should be honored for his Highness for interacting the little people.

    Trust me, Huggins will get his luxury boxes.

    • J the C

      You're a know nothing fool!

    • ViennaGuy

      I agree; the Coliseum will get luxury boxes ... and it should get luxury boxes.

  • ThatGUyOverThere

    This is why OL was brought here...he is doing what he was asked to do. In Oliver Luck we trust!!

    • J the C


  • GoEers

    Wow this is great news! Thank you Oliver Luck for getting WVU in the Big 12 and for raising the revenues necessary to handle the financing of these capital projects!!

    It's a great day to be a mountaineer wherever you may be!

    • mad hatter

      ok, so what if texas, and okla, say adios to the big 12 and to else where.? Those broadcast rights they signed over, most likely could be reduced thru legitation,and the rest of the conf. left out in the cold,,, and for most of the schools,, revenues won't even come close to covering their expansion costs.
      Now this is really a possibility, it really could happen...

      what's the old saying, dont count your chickens before they hatch,,,, one in the hand is worth two in the bush.

      Let's hope none of this comes to pass, but just what do we do when we renig on the bonds.

      • Aaron

        I'm pretty sure that's what I said a week or so ago but then I notice you parrot much of what I say so thanks for the imitation. It is the sincerest form of flattery.

      • GoEers

        That's why they have contracts...they surely could be broken, but the buyout will be the remaining term of the agreement...hey mad hatter way to think positively...I guess every university that is making upgrades should think like you really need to be an athletic director...I nominate you for the marshall job since you live in the area and they truly do need a lot of help trying to find a bball coach now!! Hahahaha!!

  • cutty77

    106 MILLION. WVU could of bought the Big East for 106 million. Yes Oliver is moving us right on up.

    • J the C

      Yeah, great idea. If we bought the big east, we would have spent 106 million for nothing, because it no longer exists. You're quite the businessman.

      • cutty77

        @ J the C,
        Thanks for the scoop. Einstien. Way to be right on Top of it.

      • Greg

        Actually the Big East does still exist. The schools just don't play football.

  • Mister Man

    The changes will make a lot of people happy.

  • Aaron

    250 more spots means more for Jay Zoom to cry about.

    • scott

      spot on

      Thanks Ollie!!!!!!

  • FNP

    And for the record, the soccer locker room in a need. I cant say that for the luxury boxes that would be empty most of the time anyways.

    • cutty77

      See if you can get a Luxury Box yourself. They will be sold before there built. Oliver will take care of the Soccer locker room.

  • FNP

    If you want to bring in better players, you have to upgrade your facilities. If you want to bring in better coaches in the near future, you have to show them you're serious about growing your programs. WVU needs to get with the times because both the coliseum and football field needs major updates.

    • J the C


    • Mister Man

      Isn't that what this column is all about? Are we not upgrading?

      • FNP

        I was making a statement before all of the Luck haters started bashing the money they are spending.


    Here comes the Ollie Luck haters in 3,2,1