MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The hardwood that holds the history of some of West Virginia University’s “glory days” of basketball will be a memory itself before long.
A $10 million donation will allow for the expansion of the university’s College of Business and Economics at the site of Stansbury Hall, commonly known as the Mountaineer Field House.
“It actually was built to replace a place called ‘The Ark,’ which was a big wooden structure that was the first true permanent home of Mountaineer basketball, and it burned down. It was about the same site as the field house,” said Greg Hunter, MetroNews Sportsline co-host and publisher and editor of Blue & Gold News.
Stansbury Hall was constructed along Beechurst Avenue in 1928.
Former WVU Athletic Director Harry Stansbury is said to have pressured state lawmakers for $250,000 toward construction of the facility.
The building is named for him in honor of his 22 years leading Mountaineer sports.
Nearly 2 decades after the brick structure went up; it hosted some of WVU’s most notable basketball stars.
“It only held 4,800 people when it was built. They expanded it by the time Jerry West and Hot Rod Hundley came along to 6,000. But, Mark Workman, Hot Rod, Jerry West, Rod Thorn and Fritz Williams and stars of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s all played at the field house,” Hunter said.
Within a decade later, WVU had grander plans for athletics, particularly basketball.
“It’s been in use in other facets since 1970 since the Coliseum went up. But, that’s when the Mountaineer basketball team, gymnastics, wrestling, all those things that used the field house, they all moved out to the Coliseum in ’70.”
Stansbury Hall then became somewhat of a multipurpose complex.
“It was the home for intramurals on campus. The ROTC was out of there. There were a lot of classes and offices down there. The basketball floor remained. It was sort of just an open gym area,” Hunter recalled, having had classes in the building as a WVU student in the 80’s.
A release regarding the business school donation included thoughts from 1960 graduate Jerry West.
“It gives me a great feeling that the location of this new complex will be in the location where I already have a lot of great memories. This gift from Bob and Laura Reynolds is fantastic for the university, and I am eager to see WVU build a business school that will provide great experiences for students,” West said.
“I could never have imagined the life experiences and success I have had, and I couldn’t have done any of it without West Virginia University,” said West, a native of Chelyan, Kanawha County, and current executive board member of the Golden State Warriors. “And like each of us, West Virginia University looks to continually improve and be the best it possibly can be.”
A proposed timeline for razing the building and new construction has not been released.