I’m still not sure what Bob Huggins was getting at near the end of that press conference Saturday. It really wasn’t articulated with the time and depth it deserved, but, to be fair, it wasn’t consumed appropriately either at the end of the 50 minutes.
But there he was, sitting in the $24 million problem-solver known as the practice facility. And not only that, but the press conference was in a room specifically designated for press conferences. This is different from when the postgame media stuff happens in the concession and lounge areas behind the club seating at the Coliseum.
Huggins was nevertheless espousing the need to refurbish the Coliseum. “…the reality is the Coliseum is 44 years old and it’s never really had a makeover.”
That’s not really true. There have been little things to maintain the building and slightly bigger things like redoing the Jerry West Lounge and adding trophy cases in the concourse and the like. And there have been much bigger things like those club areas and a media room and fixed up locker rooms. Then there’s the really big thing hanging over the court now after years without a reasonable scoreboard and video board.
But a full scale makeover with scissors and hair dye and a facial mask and eucalyptus leaves and mascara and blush and lip stick and the like, no, that hasn’t happened. That appears to be on the way, though, as part of the $106 million mastah plan for WVU’s athletic facilities.
Now, since this gathering Saturday was about transfers and turnover, and since Huggins said facilities and social media were involved, I have to wonder. I can’t see how suites and better bathrooms mean nearly as much to recruits as the practice facility, but, whatever. Huggins does.
Huggins believes kids see photos of other places on Twitter and start to wonder if they have it as good as good as they could somewhere else.
He really wants suites and he doesn’t like “two urinals and a trough” in the bathroom. I think he thinks the lines at the restrooms and the concession stands and the crowds in the concourse and the mess in the parking lots discourage attendance and that fixes will increase attendance and offer a more appealing atmosphere to recruits.
I think. Again, we all could have done a better job near the end there.
But basketball isn’t in the first wave of projects for the 106 mill, so Huggins was probably endorsing the idea as much as he was hoping to expedite it. The reality? No one knows yet what’s going to happen with the Coliseum, never mind when. “The short answer,” athletic director Oliver Luck said, “is we don’t know.” Box seats — not suites, but not wholly dissimilar, either — are possibilities, but the key word today is vomitories.
Luck said larger ideas are being considered, too. The hallways (vomitories) that lead from the concourse to the inner bowl of the Coliseum don’t all line up with the aisles that take patrons to their seats. Crowds of people are funneled into a narrow walkway and then have to walk left or right to get to the appropriate aisle.
“If you designed that building today, you’d design the aisles so they’d line up with the vomitories,” Luck said. “If you did that, then you wouldn’t need that smaller inner ring to move around. So what do you do with that inner ring? Would you build boxes without having to knock walls down? You could put in these boxes — I’m not sure they’re suites — in that inner concourse. Those are good seats. You can sell those and make some decent money.”
Doing so would mean reconfiguring the lower seating bowl and essentially rotating a new design so the aisles meet the vomitories. That, though, would require all new seats because no one makes the current ones.
“Those are all decisions we haven’t made yet,” Luck said. “We need professionals to guide us and tell us what it costs and all those sorts of things.