Baseball Land Purchase Proposed

West Virginia University Athletic Director Oliver Luck is proposing a $2.3 million land purchase for a new baseball stadium near Morgantown, and the Board of Governors will consider it Thursday.

The Dominion Post says Luck is eyeing 7 acres near the University Town Centre that are currently owned by a private developer.

The three-story, $16 million Mountaineer Ballpark would be funded with tax-increment financing.

WVU, Fairmont State University and the New York-Penn League have expressed interest in playing there. Luck has also said the stadium could host youth baseball events and concerts.

Discussions about who will handle daily operations are continuing, but Luck said in an email to the newspaper that WVU will likely assume the responsibility.

The developers plan to award a contract this fall and start construction in December. They're also planning about $5 million in preliminary road and intersection improvements near the Granville shopping center.

When the stadium is done, developers would build a $24 million exit along Interstate 79.

WVU attorney Rossi Wiles recently told the Monongalia County Commission that the developers are considering using a "design-build method," meaning they would design the stadium at the time of construction and skip the bidding process.

The West Virginia Design-Build Board would have to approve such a plan.

"There must be a need for the project design and construction timeline to be faster than the traditional design-bid-build process would allow," its website says. "The project must require close coordination of design and construction expertise or an extreme amount of coordination."

The board also requires that funding be in place at the time of the application.

The design-build approach is intended to make a single entity responsible for quality, cost and schedule adherence.

It can speed up decision-making and prevent expensive redesigns by having the design and construction personnel working as a single team.

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