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.”

COLISEUM CONCOURSES
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.

MORE PARKING
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.”

SOCCER’S PIECE
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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Comments

  • jay zoom

    is part of this money coming from the $20.00 he charges as he rips off the fan base to park at the coliseum. THANKS OLLIE

  • Rick S.

    The Big 12 calls for big-time facilities.

    By the way, congratulations to the Connecticut (former Big East member, current American Athletic member) men's basketball team for winning the national championship. And kudos to the AAC for getting two teams to the sweet 16 -- the same number of Big 12 teams that made it.

    Congratulations to the Connecticut (former Big East member, current American Athletic member) women's basketball team for winning the national championship, and honorable mention to Notre Dame (former Big East member) on reaching the national championship game. And kudos to the four former Big East teams that made the sweet 16 -- and the one Big 12 team that made it that far.

    And finally, congratulations to the Central Florida (American Athletic member) football team for its BCS bowl victory over Baylor, the Big 12 champion.

    Not a bad year for the American Athletic Conference, especially considering how inferior its schools' facilities supposedly are.

    • Aaron

      There is no supposedly.

  • Lantz

    Probably would've waited for a winning season in football or an NCAA tournament win before I sink a ton of money into the place. Really hope we have it drawn up that luck has to cover 1/2 of the cost if he decides to bail on us.

  • stephen

    500 ball equals more empty seats regardless of what the new meeting room looks like. it's coming folks.

  • Proud Alum

    As a grad from 73/74 an attended all my football at the old downtown stadium.....that was pure "Animal House" compared to what we're seeing today...

  • ole sasquatch

    MONEY! MONEY! MONEY!
    SPIRIT Spirit spirit

  • Mountaineer Fanatic 44

    It is difficult to believe how many mountaineers seem to be more concerned with unimportant things instead of how many games our teams win.
    If WVU puts out a black jacket with WVU on it, why do so many care that the coach wears it? Why is the coaches hair style a problem? Why, when the school is discussing improving the looks of the sports programs, are so many talking down how it use to be?
    Just wondering, do people from other schools do this or are they more concerned with how their teams perform?
    I for one want to see a marked improvement in football and basketball in the next season. Last year was a heartbreaker. LETS GOOOOO MOUNTAINEERS

    • Lantz

      When were not winning we tend to find issues... from wardrobe to not having any head coaching iq.

  • Robin

    Oliver Luck fans expect winners. We had that at one time. We do not have it now. End of story!!

    • ole sasquatch

      Bring him back. You know of whom I speak.

  • jay zoom

    the hidden talent that Luck has. get out your wallets and pockey-book mountaineer fans do you think this clown is going to sit back --- spend $106 million and not have plans to rip off the mountaineer faithful in the future. 102 restroom units short -( beer in the future) A parking lot at Hawley Field 250 spaces equal $5000 a game more in revenue and a complete headache to leave the place. why doesn't this university have a womens softball team. Hawley field would be great. whoops I forgot WVU and the greedy Luck would have to spend money for uniforms and equipment and travel for the team rather than give the fan base what they want. also never heard no mention of a crosswalk over the road between the creative arts center and the coliseum. Once again I forgot - that would protect the fan base and Luck probably doesn't want to waste $$$$$$$$ on that when he can come up with a scheme to rake in $$$$$$ from the public. Send the - JERK -- back to Houston and bring in someone that cares about the people that support WVU athletics instead of the almighty dollar. Don't get me wrong Universities need money to run their programs just not the way Luck is going about it.

    • scott

      blah....blah....blah

    • Aaron

      "A parking lot at Hawley Field 250 spaces equal $5000 a game more in revenue and a complete headache to leave the place."

      I believe I called this two days ago. Cry on young man, cry on.

    • Duane

      You might be the only person I know who wants a women's softball team. 100 spectators per game at two dollars a head seems logically. All women's sports programs would be club teams if title nine went away.

  • FNP

    As a fan and a resident of WV, i'm glad they are making some changes. Morgantown was run down at now they are making the necessary changes to fix the problems. You want residents, students, visitors ect. to enjoy their experiences and i think they are now. Every time i go back there is something new. I like the direction Luck and the County officials have steered the ship.

  • The Wisetalker

    More of Ollie's Follies...and the sympathizers are loving it....

  • David Kennedy

    Oliver Luck has been asked to do a job.
    That job is to take WVU to a higher level of status.
    We are very fortunate to have him performing that task.
    The future holds incredible possibilities if WVU can become the premier college of the east;
    It is on track to become just that.
    I laugh at the antics of the nay-sayer's and cone-heads who try to keep us in the past.
    This is a new West Virginia...it's here, boys and girls...whether you like it or not.

    • Robin

      "This is a new West Virginia...it's here, boys and girls...whether you like it or not."

      Well if it includes losing I don't like it!

      • David Kennedy

        The weakness in our teams is the recruiting.

        Football has no 1st string Quarterbacks. Basketball has only one Staten...
        Baseball has only one pitcher this year.

        These are the make-a-the money teams...the recruiting needs to get serious...and perhaps, farm kids out of Wv...
        Penn State did that with their football program for years...and it worked very well.
        Put an emphasis on secondary schools and those kids going to the big school in Morgantown.

  • Mister G!

    If college football is all about television, as Mr. Luck and others don't hesitate to remind us, why not forgo improvements to The Pus(kar Stadium) and instead send fans discount coupons for a new 60-inch flat screen?

  • mineralk

    Do most of you think a new AD would be doing anything different? Mr Luck is just doing what needs to be done. Quit living in the past people. Great job Ollie! Go mountaineers!!!!

    • Lantz

      I think he already has someones head up his butt in Dana....he doesn't need yours to. # Go Ollie lol

  • Randy

    You tell em brother! Fans do expect more. Not that 3 and 9 sh** Bill Stewart gave us. I for one am proud to pay out more cash. 9 and 3 is worth the extra money. Uhhhh WTF? I seem to have mixed up my enrollment numbers. As Gilda Radner would say "never mind".