HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- The city skyline is changing as a new state-of-the-art facility is being constructed on the campus of Marshall University.
The final truss was being installed on a new indoor athletic facility late last month with construction directly behind Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
When finished, the facility will feature a full-length football field, an eight-lane (300 meter) NCAA track for hosting women's meets, batting cages for both baseball and softball, as well as portable tennis courts for indoor matches.
The length of the facility will be about 120 yards and nearly 1,000 seats will be placed trackside. The facility is 70 feet high in the center and 50 feet high on the sides. The track will be designed to accommodate long jumps, discus throws and meter dashes.
Ron May, director of facilities planning and management at Marshall, allowed the Daily Mail to get a firsthand glimpse of the construction site and the progress being made.
"We are very excited," May said. "It's neat to see our vision take shape. When this indoor practice facility is built, it will be one of the best in the nation."
In addition to the indoor athletic facility, an academic center, the Sports Medicine and Translational Research Center and the Athletics Hall of Fame will be adjoined. The entire project is phased, meaning each entity has its own completion timetable. It is estimated the project will cost $25 million. J & H Erectors from Portsmouth, Ohio, is the general contractor for the project.
Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick said the facilities are much needed.
"We have no quality place for athletes to focus on their academics, nor do we have a place for our track team to meet. Our women's track team currently practices in the hallways of the Henderson Center," Hamrick said. "When finished, this facility will be the best in the country. There may be some that are comparable but nothing can beat this."
The 105,000-square-foot indoor athletic facility and 2,000-square-foot hall of fame atrium are slated to be finished first. May said those facilities should be completed in August. The academic center should be completed three months later and the research center should be completed a few months after that. The entire facility is to be 100 percent operational by the spring 2015 term.
The athletic facility is several yards away from the Joan C. Edwards stadium to accommodate additional stadium seating in the future. May said the stadium was designed to add an additional 10,000 seats if needed.