WVU announced upcoming construction on a practice facility for The Pride of West Virginia.
The new facility, which will take the place of the closed Hawley Field, will move the Pride from its current practice location of the Coliseum parking lot to a permanent, semi-indoor home.
“I think it really will improve the overall well-being of band members because where we are right now, it’s sort of just an open parking lot that has okay lighting sometimes at most, but you’re kind of at the will of the elements a lot,” said Cameron Kiner, a senior history student and four-year member of the Pride from Crossing Lanes, West Virginia.
With its current practice location, the band is not only at the mercy of the weather — extreme heat in the summer and extreme cold in the winter — but is often forced to cut practices short due to WVU basketball games as well as other events held at the Coliseum.
“The facility is currently in the planning stages, but initial designs include afootball-field-sized turf field, a pavilion to protect users from the elements, lighting and sound systems, and climate-controlled storage for instruments and uniforms,” WVU announced in a press release on Monday.
The new facility will also allow Pride members from having to take their instruments home, and the many stresses that accompany it.
Not only will the Pride no longer be booted from practices to make space for cars, but having a turf practice field will allow it to better simulate the conditions of Milan Puskar Stadium — the largest improvement with the new facility, Kiner said.
“It makes it more realistic to what we face on game day, but it also just makes it safer,” he said.
Kiner believes the new practice location will help motivate incoming students to continue the longstanding traditions of the band.
“If someone who was thinking about coming to WVU and being in our band comes see us practice, and they see us practice on a paved practice area where people are hesitant to put stuff down or it seems like we’re all throwing up or too cold,” Kiner said, “it’s a lot better of an image if we have a facility where people feel comfortable, like, they don’t have to worry about their stuff being damaged or don’t have to worry about being at the whim of whatever temperature it is.”
Fundraising for the new facility began Wednesday during WVU’s Day of Giving. While there is no clear start date, construction is expected to take between six months and several years to complete.