With Athletic Performance Center complete, modern facility in place for WVU’s Olympics sports programs

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia’s Olympic sports programs have a new home with which to fine-tune their skill sets in — one that makes the previous one, or lack thereof in some cases, pale in comparison.

The recently completed Athletic Performance Center, located beside The Coliseum where the WVU Natatorium once was, provides an all-inclusive home for West Virginia’s men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, rowing, golf, track and field, tennis, rifle, wrestling and swimming and diving programs.

When the swimming and diving programs found a new venue — Mylan Park’s Aquatics Center — to hold home meets, the process began of turning what was once the WVU Natatorium into a far more modern home for a plethora of athletic programs.

“In all of of our projects, we’re looking at the effectiveness and efficiency for our student athletes,” WVU Director of Athletics Shane Lyons said. “You’ve heard some of our football student athletes talk about the [Milan] Puskar Center and being able to go there and workout, there’s a lounging area, eating, academic studies.

“This building kind of incorporated the same thing where if you’re training, you’re in close proximity to academic services and you can come here and lift weights. You have the nutrition area and obviously depending what sport, your practice is right next door.”

In January 2020, WVU announced a $10 million gift from the Hazel Ruby McClain Charitable Trust to help build the Athletics Performance Center.

Omni-Associates Architects helped with the technique and design of the building, while March-Westin was the general contractor and construction manager.

“As things evolved and swimming went to Mylan Park, then this building became available,” Lyons said. “The question was, what were we going to do with this building? A lot of people smarter than me came in and said from an architectural standpoint that we would be able to add square footage in here and fill in the pool.”

The building, which was built in 1972 and previously had 30,000 square footage, has been expanded to approximately 36,500 square feet with the addition of a mezzanine.

“There was 1,850 cubic yards of concrete to fill in the pool,” Lyons said. “That was 185 cement trucks that it took to fill in the pool. The thing that we’re most proud of is 94 percent of the workforce to make this building happen were West Virginia people — from the architects to laborers and everything.”

Programs such as rowing and tennis, which previously didn’t have their own locker rooms, now do.

There are numerous other amenities specific to each sport on sight, which is the new home for strength and conditioning, training, rehabilitation and nutrition for between 350-400 student-athletes who partake in Olympic sports at West Virginia.

“You take football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball out, and really everything from our Olympic sports is here in this building,” Lyons said. “So it does service a lot of our student athletes.”

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