WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Work is ahead of schedule on the 55,000 square foot sports performance center at The Greenbrier Resort that is set to serve as a training camp site for the New Orleans Saints later this month, according to the resort’s president and managing director.
On Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” Jeff Kmiec seemed confident the building would be finished by July 20 — right before the scheduled reporting day for members of the NFL team, in Greenbrier County, on July 24.
Since then, ground has been cleared, leveled and prepared at The Greenbrier Resort for three football fields — two grass fields and one that will be covered with turf — and the sports performance center is under roof.
In all, it’s an estimated $20 million worth of work.
“We knew that there was a tight time frame when the Saints approached us and said, ‘We need it by this drop dead date.’ You start working the plan backwards and realize it’s going to take three shifts,” Kmiec said of the ongoing work.
At this point, he said the building’s exterior is finished, but the interior is not.
According to the team’s website, on-field workouts for the Saints at The Greenbrier Resort will begin with a non-padded practice session on July 25 from 8:50 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. followed by a walk thru from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. In all, the NFL club will hold 20 practices at The Greenbrier — all open to the public — including a scrimmage on Aug. 2.
Kmiec said they’re expecting thousands of spectators during each practice day.
On Aug. 14, the Saints will travel to New Orleans ahead of their first preseason game on Aug. 15 against the Tennessee Titans. The final two weeks of training camp will be held at the team’s Metairie practice facility.
In White Sulphur Springs, “The facility will have workout training rooms, rehabilitation rooms for orthopedics — those types of things. It also has some incredible meeting facilities and banquet space,” Kmiec said.
“While the Saints are using it, they take the entire 21 days, 24 hours a day. The other 49 weeks of the year, it’s now being contemplated for a lot of things.”
There are early reports West Virginia University’s Mountaineers may spend part of next year’s spring football period at The Greenbrier, possibly during the time of a popular benefit for the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center.
Kmiec said the facility could also potentially be a football training destination for Marshall University and Virginia Tech or other teams, like high school teams.
Earlier this year, lawmakers approved a ten year, possible $25 million total tax credit, for three projects at The Greenbrier including the NFL training camp. For the camp infrastructure alone, The Greenbrier would be eligible for a $5 million credit over ten years.