The Bottom Line
By Bill Nestor
As if Mountaineer fans weren’t excited enough as the season opener is just days away, they were just blown away by news of upgrades to their facility.
It is almost too much for the average WVU diehard to digest. Riding high with anticipation of a season opening night game with Georgia Southern on September 5th has the big buzz surrounding this year’s edition. However the focus shifted to the place where they play, Milan Puskar Stadium. Work has started on the $45 million concourse renovation project, which is drawn from a $100 million facility upgrade initiative.
Sure that is a large amount of cash but sometimes you have to spend money to make money. The ultimate goal is to put as many fans in the seats as possible. There are two ways to accomplish that feat. First is to put more wins in the record book and secondly, the fans need a more enjoyable time at the game. Since there is no way to provide a promise for more victories, the University is taking matters into its own hands with the latter.
Some of the deterrents that have kept fans from having a great experience on game day include hot weather, alcohol over consumption, and a lack of space when trying to navigate both to and from stadium seating. The first major phase of this endeavor is the expansion of the concourse, on the East end of the stadium. It will be extended and give fans more room to roam. The West side is another story, it will be expanded next year and when all of the dust settles completion of the entire upgrade will be prior to the start of the 2017 season opener.
During this work period there are several other activities taking place.
Elevators and additional stairs will be added to decrease the logjam of fans during peak times of entrance and exit.
The number of concession stands and their menus will be expanded which allows fans to get their grub and get back to their seats in a timely manner. That alone will aid in sales, as fans are more apt to visit a vendor if they know that they won’t have to wait forever.
When you’re watching the Eers on the tube halftime feels like an eternity but when you’re in the stadium it’s a different story.
It’s a race for spectators to do all they have to do and get back for the second half kickoff. Many times they have to pick and choose where they are going to spend their time. At the top of everyone’s list is the bathroom. When you have to go – you have to go and that used to include a lengthy line. That problem will be remedied by the installation of new toilet fixtures. Also, the amount of said fixtures is set to increase allowing more time to roam the concourse for your favorite food or beverage.
Rumor has it that the watering trough in the men’s restrooms will be removed. That would also increase proficiency at the pit stop. It takes more time when you feel like you’re being watched and the pressure is on to take care of business.
All of these improvements will benefit the fans. They are long overdue as this is the first major overhaul to this stadium in this regard since it opened in 1980. Kudos to the administration for taking the steps to get the job done; it’s definitely a step in the right direction!
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God Bless!