WVU AD Shane Lyons Part 1 – Puskar Center Renovations | WVU SPORT
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WV News) – Mountaineer Field has seen significant changes in recent years, with a new $ 5 million team room added to the Puskar Center and the halls on the east and west sides of the stadium in 2015 completely rebuilt in the following years at a cost of almost 60 million US dollars.
Now the latest part of the West Virginia soccer facility upgrade plan is complete as another $ 55 million renovation of the Puskar Center is nearing completion.
As anyone who watches HGTV knows, almost every Reno project has a catch. For the WVU, the work of the Puskar Center started well in December 2019, but the pandemic caused major problems worldwide, including construction work such as the one at the southern end of Mountaineer Field.
Despite all of the tremendous problems caused by the pandemic, which also raised major concerns for the college’s sports departments about their financial future, West Virginia officials decided to continue redesigning the Puskar Center.
“We kept pushing the renovation work on the Puskar Center because we were in the middle of this project and had already set up the debt service to pay for it,” said WVU Athletics Director Shane Lyons.
“I felt – and I had the support of (West Virginia’s) President (E. Gordon) Gee and the (WVU) Board (of Governors) – that we couldn’t stop this project,” Lyons added in an exclusive interview the Blue. add & gold news. “If we had stopped after phase 1 or 2 and phases 3 and 4 were still completed, that would be a problem. It would have set us back many years. “
The completed project puts West Virginia’s soccer facilities on par with those of the Big 12, according to Lyons.
For the most part, about 90% of the building was redesigned in this latest round of renovations. The weight room (a makeover Brown says is on a future wish list), two-year-old cafeteria, new team room, athletic training center, Hartley Club, and Reynolds Family Academic Performance Center weren’t part of this news work, though those locations were also received fresh paint, new graphics, and updated visuals.
Most of the rest of the building has been completely redesigned, starting with the Hall of Traditions, which is now the main entrance to the Puskar Center. In the past, the hall in which memorabilia from mountaineering football are exhibited was at the rear of the facility and was often not open to the public. Now it’s at the forefront and will be open to fans on a regular basis, including on match days.
Behind the Hall of Traditions lies the sanctuary of WVU football, from offices to meeting rooms, a players’ lounge, changing rooms, medical facilities, strength and relaxation areas, catering and drinking stations and much more.
Video boards, graphics, and other displays are abundant throughout the building. The lighting is capable of changing colors almost anywhere and even flashing on a variety of frequencies if so desired. Technology updates are common during renovations, with swappable screens replacing static panels in numerous locations.
With the 2021 season fast approaching, West Virginia officials are proud to present their new football home.
“I think we are already reaping the benefits of renovating the Puskar Center,” said Lyons, who has been AD at WVU since 2015. “The interested parties who visit our facilities are very impressed. It is the top-class student athletes that we have probably not been able to recruit in the past. That was my vision when it came to looking at this facility in detail and all of our facilities as a whole. We want to get them all up to Big 12 and Power 5 standards, and I think we’re getting closer to that. There is still more to be done, but we have improved. “
Such renovations come at a cost. West Virginia has invested over $ 100 million in upgrading facilities within the soccer complex. In addition, the WVU has invested even more in the last ten years in the expansion of the Colosseum as well as in the construction of the new basketball practice facility, the Olympic Performance Training Center, the Mon County Ballpark, the Aquatic Center in Mylan Park and the new outdoor Track complex in Mylan Park.
Each of them has needed a lot of money, and so Lyons is pushing for donations from Mountaineer fans to pay for these world-class sports facilities.
“We still need the support of our donors. That’s why we launched our Time To Climb campaign, ”explains Lyons, who is from Parkersburg, West Virginia. “Sometimes people think we’re only interested in the six or seven digit gifts. That’s great, but I’d also like to have 10,000 donors willing to donate $ 252 a year. That is also starting to add up.
“It takes a lot to run a sports department with around 500 student athletes, to equip them, to travel, to train, the facilities. That costs a lot of money.”
Before the pandemic, WVU’s sports division budget was in the range of $ 93 million. Lyons says his department suffered about $ 25 million in profit over the past year due to all of the COVID restrictions, but he hopes to dig West Virginia out of that hole over the next three to five years.
Despite all the problems, he has the feeling that football is now a figurehead at the Puskar Center.
“I will set this facility up against any facility in the country,” beamed Lyons. “I’ve been to some of the biggest and best, and I think our new footprint of what we’ve done with this building is very impressive.”
(This is part of a series of articles with Shane Lyons from his exclusive interview with Blue & Gold News. More stories on a variety of topics will be published in the future.)