Community entities commit to collaborate with Mylan Park Foundation to develop aquatic, track complex at Mylan Park
Nine public entities came together Thursday (Nov. 5) to pledge their commitment to collaborate in an effort to support the Mylan Park Foundation’s efforts to plan and build a state-of-the-art aquatic and track complex at Mylan Park.
According to the collaboration agreement, the estimated $25-30 million facility on approximately 20 acres will be a community facility that will also be home to the West Virginia University men’s and women’s swim teams and women’s cross country and track teams and the county’s high school track and swim competitions.
Plans call for a late Fall 2017 opening, and officials say they hope to host future NCAA and Big 12 championships in swimming, cross country and track at the complex as well as to bring regional and state high school competitions to Morgantown.
The complex will be a “game changer” in terms of offering area athletes competition-level track and field amenities and swimming and diving pools to train and compete, said Todd Eckels of the Mylan Park Foundation Board.
“As the parent of two competitive athletes, I can’t tell you how excited I am for them – and for all the school children in our area,” Eckels said. “There is no competitive track for our athletes to train and compete on in this county. There is also no 50-meter competition pool in the state of West Virginia.”
Eckels said there will be a nine-lane, 4,000-meter track complex with seating for 1,000 spectators. There will also be a jogging loop and sand volleyball courts as well as a walking trail around the site, he said.
The Aquatic Center will be an approximately 75,000 square-foot building with a 50-meter competition swimming pool, which is eight lanes and nine-feet wide, with seating for 1,000.
There will also be a diving pool and tower, a warming pool, a therapeutic pool, a family water park, an outdoor sun deck, two wet classrooms, a cardio fitness room, training space and locker rooms, and multipurpose rooms for meetings and special occasions.
In addition to university and high school competitions, young children and families will be able to use the facility for recreational swimming, for youth running organizations, for adult swims and water aerobics and for birthday parties and special family gatherings.
Special Olympics events can also be held at the community track, he added, along with awareness and philanthropic walks like Relay for Life and Light the Night.
ROTC, first responders, law enforcement, veterans, the disabled, seniors and others will be using the facilities as well.
WVU’s Director of Athletics and Associate Vice President Shane Lyons lauded the community-wide collaboration, saying, “Whether you are a competitive athlete at the college or high school level, a child who is learning to swim, a senior citizen who is here to swim laps and exercise, a family who is out here walking the track – this facility will truly improve the quality of life in our county and in our state.”
WVU already has a strong annual financial commitment in Mylan Park facilities, Lyons added, and this partnership will enhance that financial base as the primary tenant for training and competitions in all WVU swimming, diving, cross country and track meets. He is also hopeful that the complex will attract NCAA and Big 12 championships.
Organizers say total funding for the Mylan Park complex, expected to be around $25-30 million, will primarily come from rental agreements with WVU, as well as other community and outside groups that will utilize these facilities, along with government and private sector support.
Tom Bloom, president of the Monongalia County Commission, thanked all the entities – the Town of Granville, the Town of Star City, the City of Westover, the City of Morgantown, WVU, the Board of Education, the Mylan Park Foundation, the County’s Convention and Visitors Bureau and his colleagues at the County Commission – for coming together to collaborate to bring to a reality “the premier aquatic and track complex in the country – much like our Mon County Ball Park is one of the best venues in the nation.”
Tourism Commissioner Peggy Myers-Smith, who is also president of the West Virginia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, said the Greater Morgantown CVB is “excited to be a part of the collaboration,” which will bring jobs, taxes, growth and income to the areas.
“The opportunity to host regional, state and national tournaments and events related to WVU and the Big 12 brings families and fans to stay in our hotels, to shop at our retail establishments, to eat in our restaurants, to fuel their cars and to being significant income to our area,” she said.
“And,” she added, “we know that once they visit, they will be back.”
Monongalia County School Superintendent Frank Devono was happy to see so many parents, students and coaches at the announcement.
“We have been making investments in our schools in Monongalia County for the past several years, but they don’t always come equipped with the type of resources we need for our sports teams to practice and compete,” he said. “Having a venue like this Aquatic and Track Complex that we can collectively share is going to be amazing.”
A class in the College of Business and Economics’ BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship contributed to the plans, and were in attendance at the announcement, along with athletes, parents and others who will benefit from the new recreation complex.
CONTACTS: Greg Morris; Mylan Park Foundation
Shane Lyons; WVU Director of Athletics
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