Today (April 25), West Virginia University broke ground on the Evansdale recreation fields – the first part of the University’s $8.4 million Strategic Recreation Plan.

The plan, which also includes installations at Mylan Park and the Medical Center, will provide for a synthetic soccer field, natural grass soccer field to be used for general recreation space and flag football, five hard surface and lighted tennis courts and a limestone walking trail on the Evansdale campus.

“This is not only a great day for students, but for the entire University and Morgantown community,” said Chris Lewallen, current student body president. “West Virginia always gets ranked as being an unhealthy state and this has to change. We are better than this, and what better place to start than the state’s land grant institution and plans like this one today.

“Now students at WVU can learn to live well and start their families living well. Today not only marks the groundbreaking of a recreation plan, today marks the groundbreaking of West Virginia as a whole taking the initiative to teach future generations to live well.”

Students from three terms in the Student Government Association worked to form a plan that would meet the needs of future students. The funding for the plan was formally approved in September of 2009.

“I finally get to see dreams made a reality and it is awesome,” said Jason Zucarri, WVU alumnus and one of the former student body presidents that worked on the recreation initiative. “It has been a long time coming and a lot of work. I am glad to finally see it happening. It means a lot to students and it really shows the impact that students have here. WVU is a real student-centered university.”

When President Jim Clements started at the University, he assured students they would get the recreation space they needed.

“When the students told me it was a priority – I promised them that we would get it done and that we would get it done right,” Clements said. “All of this is about contributing to a healthier student body – and a healthier and happier campus community. And we all know that the healthier we are, the more we learn and the more we achieve.

“This is a game-changing day for our students, and I am beyond excited with the plans we are breaking ground on this afternoon. Our students deserve the best and we do listen – your voice was heard. This is for you. We are doing this for our current students and we are doing this for our future students.”

Club sports at WVU are growing at a rapid pace. There are currently more than 35 club sports on campus – everything from paint ball to figure skating. An estimated 1,200 students participate in club sports and 4,600 students participate in intramural sports programs.

“This new excitement and leadership is because of what we are looking forward to with the new fields and facilities that we are getting; They are unlike anything seen nationwide,” said Sports Club Federation President Ian Shaw. “We cannot be happier and more excited. The future of club sports is an energetic one. The number of clubs is increasing each semester, along with the number of members and those clubs are getting more engaged in the community.”

WVU’s Vice President of Student Affairs Ken Gray and Vice President of Administration and Finance Narvel Weese oversaw the creation of the plan.

“At WVU, we believe it is important for students to keep physically fit, develop leadership skills, sportsmanship and learn how to function as a member of a team through participation in general recreation activities,” Gray said. “I am proud to be part of this groundbreaking for our new recreational fields.”

The University had not assessed student demand for recreation place since the Student Recreation Center – which has had more than seven million users – opened in 2001. Since then, student enrollment at the University has increased by 6,100 students.

The $8.4 million recreation plan was part of a $27 million plan that includes a new wellness facility.

WELL WVU – the University’s central division for student health and wellness programming – will consolidate the Student Health Service, Carruth Center for Psychological and Psychiatric Services, pharmacy and laboratory services, possible retail services and other wellness functions into one designated facility.

For more information on the plans, visit .



CONTACT: University Relations/News