The plans are part of a two-phase project expected to be completed in 2017. The Coliseum, a 46-year-old structure built, was showing age and badly needed a facelift. And while the exterior of the building will retain its iconic shape, the interior will be literally brought up to modern day standards. WVU will spend $20 million to more than double the restroom count and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) seating and supply additional concesssions while also adding six suites. The privately-funded suites, and the ADA seating, are part of the second phase, completed in 2017.
The remainder, including taking the restroom count from 62 total fixtures with 1 family restroom to 155 with four family restrooms, as well as adding a sports bar, a grab-and-go style concession space, a bistro and a "canteen" will be completed prior to next basketball season. WVU will also update the concourse areas, pushing concessions back to the exterior walls - and providing areas within them to wait in line and, in some cases, sit and eat as well - which will help eliminate the bottleneck seen at games to this point. The university will also change the seating section numbers, which, according to Lyons, has caused confusion with its odd-even set-up. The lower deck will now be the 100 level, while the upper is 200. The new signage will be a part of brightening the entire drab area, which was very "institutional-like," Lyons said, "with all its gray and white."
Instead, West Virginia will incorporate the obvious gold and blue into the color scheme, as well as adding better lighting and more graphics. The area should have a more open, inviting feel, and provide fans the amenities desired in attending a modern-day sporting event. (Story continues below.)
Lyons also said that WVU will begin to sell beer at home basketball games outside the suite areas, like it does at football and baseball games. The Red and Green gates will also be renamed the "Country Roads" gate and the "Mountaineer Gate," respectively. Lyons said the administrative staff asked why the colors red and green were ever used, nobody seemed to know. The renamings are the top two voted upon by the fans in feedback requested by the university.
There will also be a new exterior ticket office entry with indoor lobby, and the team store will be made accessible to the public from a new exterior entry, as well as continue the interior entry on game days. The Coliseum projects, including new and expanded locker rooms, will cost $115 million and be finished by November of 2017. West Virginia is also upgrading the current Olympic Weight Rooms, used for sports like wrestling, swimming and diving, etc., from 4,583 sq. ft. to 12,035 sq. ft. Thy will also add a new training room, expanding from 2,179 sq. ft. to 4,761 sq. ft. That project begins in June of this year and will be completed by Jan. 2017 at a cost of $5 million.
The other upgrades are to the Shell Building, WVU's aged area for indoor track. The university will spend another $5 million starrting this summer to refurbish the building's exterior, as well as put on a new track surface, resurface and upgrade the tennis courts, add 1,400 sq. ft. for an indoor practice facility for golf and add 2,000 sq. ft. for a training facility for rowing. That will be completed in winter of 2017.
Here's a look at some details on the Coliseum project:
Start Date: March 2016
Cost: $15 million
Construction Manager at Risk: Gilbane Building Co.
Est. Completion Date: Nov. 2016
Restoom Upgrades: From 62 fixtures/1 family restroom to 155 fixtures/4 family restrooms
Concession Upgrades: From 28 points of sale to 52 points of sale
ADA Seating: From 42 seats to 162 seats (completed in Phase II in 2017)
Suites: Six additional (zero currently) (privately funded; completed in Phase II in 2017)
Sports bar-type atmopsphere that will serve a wider range of premium foods with tables and seatinf for up to 75 patrons at the booth and bar height tables. The Cafe will feature an carving station, Panini sandwiches, quesadillas, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches and chicken tenders.
Wild & Wonderful Canteen
Features current Coliseum concession fare with in addition to the West Virginia loaded pepperoni roll - with Custard Stand chili - and the West Virginia hot dog, featuring chili/sauce, slaw, mustard and onions. There will also be expanded points of sale and greater room for queuing.
Country Roads Pit Stop
A grab-and-go style concessikn space that will offer patrons the flexibility to select their own items and pay at the counter simialr to a convenience store. The Pit Stop will feature hand-dipped ice cream, pizza, chicken tenders, fries, hot dogs, popcorn, soft drinks and soft pretzels.
Almost Heaven Bistro
Features current Coliseum concession favorites in addition to ultimate nachos and a BBQ pulled pork sandwich. There are also greater points of sale and room for queuing.
Here's a look at two more renderings for the project, an overhead view of the WVU Coliseum and a look at the new men's basketball locker room.
New Men's Basketball Locker Room