Athletics Performance Center Provides WVU Olympic Sports Athletes with State-of-the-Art Facility | WVU | West Virginia Mountaineers Sports Coverage

Housed in the former Natatorium, the Athletics Performance Center’s weight room retains the pool’s original wooden ceiling.

MORGANTOWN, W.VA — One year, $10 million, and 185 truckloads of cement later, the West Virginia University Athletics Performance Center is now complete and has quickly become a hub for student-athletes in the Olympic sports of mountaineering.

WVU football, baseball, and women’s and men’s basketball each already had their own strength and conditioning zones, but West Virginia’s other 13 college sports were left to practice in a pair of cramped and cramped weight rooms. obsolete in the Coliseum and Shell Building.

When Shane Lyons took over as WVU’s athletic director in 2015, his vision was to give these programs a modern training facility of their own.

Now this idea has become reality.

Located behind the Colosseum, the Athletic Performance Center, which opened last October, is used daily by 300 to 400 student-athletes from volleyball, archery, gymnastics, rowing, golf, athletics, tennis, wrestling, men’s and women’s swimming. and the diving, men’s soccer and women’s soccer teams.

“We got into this business because of student-athletes,” Lyons said. “We have high performing student-athletes and we want to help them improve. We want to give them access to first-class training, and with that in mind, it has become paramount that we build this facility for our Olympic sports athletes.

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The Athletics Performance Center resides on the site of the old Natatorium, which housed WVU’s swim program from 1972 to 2019. But when the state-of-the-art Aquatics Center opened in Mylan Park in October 2019, swimmers and Mountaineer divers had a new aquatic paradise and the Natatorium was empty. It sat unused until APC construction began in October 2020.

“When we started looking at this idea in 2016, we first talked about having a stand-alone building,” Lyons said of the initial plan for an athletics performance center that would also be near the Colosseum. “We originally envisioned using the Natatorium to build a 2,500-3,000 seat arena that we could use for volleyball, wrestling and gymnastics (who all hold their competitions at the Colosseum), giving them a more intimate setting. As we were looking at that, however, the seating capacity just wasn’t going to be there for that, so the next question – what do we do with this building? Talking to architects, they said we could fill the pool with concrete and use that space for our athletic performance center.

“It started to turn the wheels. We brought in Omni architects from Fairmont and showed us a rendering of what could be done,” Lyons said, as the project moved from WVU ideas to Omni plans to March-Westin construction. According to Lyons, 94% of the workers used to build the facility were from the state of West Virginia.

“It went better than we expected,” smiled Lyons.

WVU Director of Athletics Shane Lyons (middle) speaks to members of the media during a tour of the Athletics Performance Center

The cost to convert the Natatorium into the Athletics Performance Center was $10 million, with that money coming from the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust.

“I can’t thank them enough,” said Lyons of the Trust, founded by the late Hazel Ruby McQuain, who died aged 92 in 2002. Over the years, the Trust has made multiple donations to the University. and the Morgantown community for various philanthropic purposes.

WVU got its money’s worth at APC.

The 36,500 square foot athletics performance center includes a 10,000 square foot weight room, which sits where the old pool used to be. The vaulted wooden ceiling that once stood above the swimming pool is now above the weight room, and it is one of the few original features of the Natatorium that still remains, although the ceiling has been gently cleaned after decades of exposure to humid chlorinated air.

There’s also an area where the 60-member women’s team can practice with individual rowers, and there’s a golf suite that contains an artificial-turf putting green and a computerized Trackman simulator for use when the weather isn’t. not allow. members of Sean Covich’s golf team to travel to his normal practice course, which is the Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport.

There is also a Bod Pod, which is a $50,000 egg-shaped enclosure that uses air pressure to measure an individual’s body composition. Additionally, the facility contains a nutrition and hydration station, which is overseen by the sports department’s five nutritionists (two for football and three for other sports), although the cafeteria serving main meals remains at side in the Colosseum. There is also a treatment and rehabilitation wing with six full-time sports coaches and three student assistant coaches who look after the physical needs of the athletes. There’s a three-pool hydrotherapy room (temperatures of 50 degrees, 90 degrees, and 105 degrees) for low-stress conditioning (one of the pools has a pair of underwater treadmills) and more advanced rehabilitation .

In addition to all this, there are changing rooms for all Olympic sports athletes. It’s something that not all of them have appreciated before.

Not only does the Athletics Performance Center contain the state-of-the-art equipment that student-athletes in the Mountaineer Olympic sport need, but it is also large enough to allow almost any team to train at the same time, rather than to separate. as they had to do in the past when using the small weight rooms.

“It’s not only impacting student-athletes today, but it’s going to impact student-athletes for years to come,” Lyons concluded. “It lays a great foundation for us. This gives us something to be very proud of. It is one of our flagship buildings.

One of the Athletics Performance Center’s hydrotherapy pools contains a pair of treadmills submerged in 90-degree water.

The opening of the Athletic Performance Center allows Lyon to move on to their next domino. The new weight room of the APC leaves unused the old one which was at ground level in the Colosseum. WVU is already transforming this into a club area that can accommodate up to 150 basketball ticket holders. Following the completion of this field-level club area in August, West Virginia plans to move forward with another, even larger club area, to be built from the lobby level of the Coliseum near of the golden gate.

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