Another Step

Pending a funding plan approved by the West Virginia University administration, WVU's Board of Governors on Friday (Dec. 12) approved the future construction of a $26 million, 64,000-square-foot basketball practice facility for the men's and women's teams. The project is contingent upon private funding.

The building, to be located adjacent to the west side of the Coliseum, will include two practice courts, a players' lounge, study area, meeting rooms, staff offices, locker rooms, training facilities, weight room and main entry - with a Hall of Fame. A special floor designed to reduce the risk of player injury is planned, and the building will be designed with many sustainable "green" elements for energy efficiencies in mechanical systems, lighting and electrical components.

Construction of the facility will take about 18 months, officials say.

The Board authorized WVU's president to approve the bidding process once a funding plan and sufficient resources are in place and recommended by the vice president of administration and finance in consultation with the director of intercollegiate athletics.

WVU Director of Athletics Ed Pastilong said he was appreciative of the Board's support, noting, "This practice facility is important for our quest to win a national championship."

Men's basketball coach Bob Huggins also commented: "The practice facility is very much a need, not a want. It will allow us the flexibility of practicing every day in the same facility and also allow the student-athletes the flexibility to work out as their busy schedules permit. For us to stay in the upper echelon of college basketball, the practice facility is a must. It also allows us the opportunity to honor the great tradition and the great athletes that comprise West Virginia basketball."

Women's basketball coach Mike Carey also applauded the Board action.

"The new practice facility is a huge benefit for both basketball programs," he said. "It is more than needed because of all the scheduling conflicts that currently arise in the Coliseum. It will give our players the chance to play and practice whenever we would like. Most of the major Division I programs around the country have a practice facility, and it will be major benefit in recruiting here at West Virginia."

Construction on the new facility could begin as early as January 2009, pending commitments of money for the project.

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