After Ballard Sports ordered the incorrect color for the end zones (a Northwestern-like blue/purple hue instead of WVU's navy-like blue), it was forced to replace the order. The end zones have yet to be installed, and there are now Flying WV or Big East or NCAA logos installed as of Wednesday. Also, the base layering has yet to be put in the south (Puskar Center) end zone, and only concrete is between the areas where the teams access the field and the goal lines. Huge piles of the silica sand and rolls of turf lay in the parking lot awaiting the installation following the filling of the order for the new blue turf. Ballard Sports has said it regrets the error and will make the deadline, now less than 10 days away.
Other improvement projects are advancing well. The Thomas Room in the Puskar Center has been totally gutted for the new Reynolds Family Academic Performance Center that will become one of the centerpieces of Mountaineer Field when it is completed this fall. The facility will have a large computer area with four large study rooms on the west side, three tutor rooms on the east side as well as four offices in the middle. On the backside of the study center will be an additional club seating area for Milan Puskar Stadium that will extend beyond the stadium overhang underneath the scoreboard.
When completed, another hallway will be created that will extend past the team training table all the way out to the club seating area. There will also be a stairway constructed near the kitchen/serving area spiraling down to the weight room. The club area has been named The Robert and Emma Hartley Club Level.
The new additions to the Touchdown Terrace are on pace. The north (hospital) end zone will be completely enclosed with seating, with the landscaping having been removed for an additional 180 seats. The suites and club seating on that level were originally completed in 2004 for $12.1 million. The new seating will not resemble that of the other club seating in the area. The chairs will be like "field boxes" with drink rails and caster seats that can be moved. The rest of the work on the area must be done from the concourse, as the workers for that project cannot access the field while the turf is being installed. Another concession area will also be added on the west side of the stadium to better the fan-to-service worker ratio.
The Brohard Hall of Traditions is also progressing well. WVU is adding another kiosk highlighting important years and periods of Mountaineer football. It will have a touch screen selection to showcase highlights of certain years, individuals and teams. The other smaller project was adding a batter's eye to Hawley Field for the baseball team. That was completed prior to the end of the season.
Parts of the bowels of the Coliseum have also been gutted for the new $1.5 million Coliseum Academic Performance Center. The facility will be five times the size of the one currently in the Coliseum, which has been in use 37 years. Located on two floors, the top of which is directly across from the athletic director's offices, construction work must be done in phases to allow time to construct a new classroom for physical education downstairs. The plan is to destroy and then deck the aging racquetball courts, create some classroom and office space on the concourse level, and then finish the middle area on the second floor. Student-athletes will be able to use the Coliseum Academic Performance Center next fall.
It is a two part process. The first, opening in September, includes two computer labs with stations along the walls with tables in the middle and two study rooms, according to Senior manager of Athletic Facilities April Messerly. The second phase will be the completion of the reception area upstairs, including student service staff offices. Once everything is completed, the hallway will be glassed in. The general contractor for the initial phase for the Coliseum Academic Performance Center is Lytle and architectural work was done by Ellerbe Becket.
West Virginia has also placed permanent padded chairs in the level between the upper and lower divisions of seating at the Coliseum. There are two chairs to a section, with the normal folding chairs flanking them. Workers are also busy repainting the seating row labeling on each section.
The All-American boards on the outer concourse are also being redone, with the pictures being shrunk. The photos lined the interior ring of the Coliseum concourse. But WVU was having so many All-Americans that, with the large pictures, it was quickly running out of room. So new boards have been put up, and all that is left is to shrink the pictures and remount them. The entire projects cost is approximately $5 million, with the majority coming from the Mountaineer Athletic Club.