The West Virginia swimming & diving program will have a new home soon, as construction is underway for the Mountaineer Center. Costs are estimated at $40 million for the entire facility, which will be owned and operated by the Mylan Park Foundation.
The new facility will feature a new aquatic center as well as a new track and field complex, meaning the track and field teams will soon compete here, too. The grand opening is set in two phases, with the track and field venue scheduled for next fall (2018) and the pool to be opened shortly after, in the spring of 2019.
The aquatic center will be 50 meters, with an additional diving well that includes 1 and 3 meter springboards as well as 1, 3, 5, 7.5, and 10 meter diving platforms. In its entirety, the aquatic center will take up 90,050 square feet, as there will also be an indoor recreation pool and an outdoor splash, patio and cardio area.
This marks a significant upgrade to the current natatorium, which is 8 lanes but only 25 yards. While the current pool can seat 500 spectators, the new one is expected to be able to seat over 1,200.
WVU students and faculty will also have access to the new facility, which will benefit the surrounding community as well as high school swimmers. The HS state meet is typically held at WVU’s current natatorium, and the new one will allot much more space and offer a much nicer venue for the high school championships.
On the bigger end of things, WVU will be looking to host a Big 12 swimming and diving championships once the pool is up and running. The University of Texas has been the obvious selection for the conference meet every year since Mizzou and Texas A&M left the Big 12, and the new facility in Morgantown could give WVU the benefit of hosting championships in the future. WVU will also be hoping to host a future Special Olympics, per head coach Vic Riggs.
“We’re already looking to host the Big 12 swimming and diving championships in 2020.” said Riggs. “With this new facility, the impact on recruiting and the future of our program will be felt immediately. It truly is a facility that will make WVU, the swimming and diving program and our community better. I want to thank all that were involved to make this happen and we will make them proud.”