At a rare meeting on WVU Tech’s Montgomery campus, members of West Virginia University’s Board of Governors on Thursday unanimously approved the purchase of a seven-acre property for the university’s new baseball stadium.
The seven-acre parcel is located near University Town Centre in Granville, a suburb of Morgantown.
The university will pay no more than $2.3 million for the ballpark property, which it will lease to the Monongalia County Commission. The county commission will then lease the land back to WVU, with the specific requirement the university must build, operate and manage a baseball stadium there.
The complicated arrangement allows WVU to build the stadium using money generated through a special tax incremental financing district. The TIF district, approved by the legislature earlier this year, allows the county commission to use tax revenue increases within that district to finance the stadium along with other infrastructure improvements.
So while WVU will build the ballpark, the county commission will bankroll the project up to $16.2 million using TIF monies.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin called the state Legislature into a special session earlier this year to approve the TIF district for the ballpark, after a similar bill failed during the regular legislative session. That original legislation was held hostage in the House of Delegates, where members hoped to persuade state senators to approve pay raises for magistrates.
The county commission’s lease for the land will expire in 30 years, or when WVU repays all its TIF bonds, whichever comes first. At that point, ownership of the property transfer back to WVU.