Practice Facility Groundbreaking

  • February 02, 2010 09:51 AM
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By Ira Green for MSNsportsNET.com
February 2, 2010

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The vision has been clear since the moment the West Virginia University basketball practice facility was approved and the plan was put in place. With the successes and storied traditions of Mountaineer men’s and women’s basketball, the new practice facility becomes another jewel to help two top-ranked programs separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

  A rendering of the North entrance to the new practice facility.
WVU Sports Communications

On Thursday, Feb. 4, ground will officially be broken on the $19 million facility in conjunction with the announcement of a $30 million renovation of White Hall. The joint ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. in the Ruby Grand Hall at the Erickson Alumni Center with West Virginia University President James P. Clements presiding. Basketball coaches Bob Huggins and Mike Carey will also be at the event.

The basketball practice facility will be located adjacent to the WVU Coliseum above the Mountaineer Tennis Courts. Presently, the project is finishing up the first stage of a two-phase process.

“One part is doing the site-utility relocation work,” Senior Associate Athletic Director for Finance-Administration Russ Sharp said. “We wanted to go ahead and get that done because, for one, we had a donor come forward who was willing to do the work in kind for us, and we wanted to take advantage of that. And two, anything that we have done over the last couple of months is less work that has to be done later. It expedites the project.

“Most of that work is coming to a close. That work involved relocating all the utilities that were out there in the footprint of the building, and that included sanitary, sewer, storm water, electrical, fiber and telephone, cable and steam. The steam line is probably the biggest piece of that. Right now, they’re finishing the relocation of the electrical duct bank. All that will remain will be pulling the electrical cable. We have the steam line on-site. We’re timing it with the weather because we have to have a shut down of the steam for the Shell and Natatorium, and we need to do that when it’s above freezing for 24 hours.”

The second phase is for the general contractor to begin working on the project. After receiving bids for the job and going through contractor pre-qualification, WVU recently notified Massaro Corporation that it was the low bidder. Once the necessary paperwork has been completed, Massaro will be issued a contract to begin work.

“Once that happens, they’ll be on-site,” Sharp said. “They’ll move their job trailer in, begin mobilizing on-site, do some survey work, begin fencing off their site and then begin working on their phase of the project, which is the majority of the construction of the building. We’re anticipating that once they begin shortly, the substantial completion for their phase of all of the work will be around April 15, 2011.”

In the meantime, between Massaro Corporation starting and completing its work, Sharp and WVU will be sending out bids and awarding a number of other contracts for items such as the installation of the wood floors on the basketball courts, graphics in the hall of fame area and the rest of the building, the installation of the weight-room flooring, the SwimEx equipment, landscaping, furniture and carpeting.

  A rendering of the view of the court from the balconey outside the coaches' offices.
WVU Sports Communications

Sharp anticipates the wood floor contract to be the first bid put out and awarded. He stated that the other pieces are expected to fall into place between April 15 and the end of May 2011 – the estimated completion date for the entire project.

The contract for the design of the building was awarded to Ellerbe Becket out of Kansas City. The company has done projects all over the nation, including new basketball arenas for the Virginia and Oregon.

Combining the architect’s impressive ideas with aspects from Kentucky’s, Louisville’s and Virginia’s practice facilities, Sharp believes WVU will boast another first-class facility.

“This will be another dedicated space where we can highlight the accomplishments, history and tradition of both programs,” Sharp says. “It’s going to be a great instructional space for practice and workouts. There will be a nice weight room, a very nice training room with all the up-to-date amenities and equipment. The striking thing, other than having the two practice courts, will be that hall of fame space and the graphics. The tradition will be highlighted all throughout the building.”

A live video stream of Thursday’s ground breaking ceremony can be accessed by clicking http://webcast.wvu.edu/