MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia football has a new conference, a new schedule, new rivals and a somewhat new coaching staff to take the Mountaineers forward.
Yet the program also has increasing concerns about an expanding neighbor.
"What we really need at the stadium long-term is more space," WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck said.
WVU Hospitals and Mon General Hospital resolved a lengthy dispute Monday that allows WVU's Ruby Memorial Hospital, located beyond the north end zone and stadium parking lots, to build a 10-story tower and add beds.
That further shrinks the space WVU football has to add to the Milan Puskar Stadium complex, which has topographical issues to deal with, namely the steep hill beneath the law school on the west side of the stadium.
The Mountaineers could plan and pull off some minor maneuvers with available space, but Luck said the school instead plans to address space problems by making the most of space the stadium already claims.
At a speaking engagement in Bridgeport last week, Luck unveiled plans for a "party deck" near Touchdown Terrace in the north end zone. The revelation conjured up images of seating areas popularized at soccer and minor-league baseball stadiums and that are starting to pop up at college football stadiums.
"Party deck is a bad description," Luck told the Daily Mail on Monday.
For starters, the concrete deck would be inside the gates, but not within the stadium bowl. It would instead be outside the bowl and on the other side of the scoreboard above that end zone. Most other party decks serve as a space from where people can watch a game.
WVU's deck would still function as a gathering space and extension of the concourse area.
"That may be the ultimate use, but imagine as you walk up the north side of the stadium up to Touchdown Terrace. You're going uphill," Luck said. "One thought we have is to create more space and to do that we'd bring a deck out at a level where you could still walk into Touchdown Terrace."
Luck said the project is only in a conceptual phase and would take several years to complete and cost around $20 million. WVU would be building out at a level even with the current entrance to Touchdown Terrace all the way to a point above where the hill leading to Touchdown Terrace entrance begins. That would create space beneath the deck.
WVU could then ask the television trucks that park outside the press box to move there, which would free up space in a congested area. The space beneath the deck would also provide room for a kitchen that the stadium does not have.