WVU Upgrading Brand at Mountaineer Field - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Upgrading Brand at Mountaineer Field

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MORGANTOWN -

Milan Puskar Stadium was the site of a pre-bid conference Monday to begin the process of replacing gray walls with vinyl graphic banners.

Four interested firms were on hand to learn more about the project and what is expected before walking out onto the field to make measurements and take photos to help plan their proposal.

Representatives from City Neon, Image Advertisement, Printscape Imaging & Graphics and Advent were on hand and each firm has until Tuesday, July 24 at 3 p.m. to submit its proposal for the project.

The exact specifications were outlined in a packet including graphics designed by Advent and measurements for each banner. Two banners will run the length of each sideline with "West Virginia Mountaineers" written on a blue background while the north end zone where the band sits has a graphic banner that reads "The Pride of West Virginia."

The South End Zone graphic is considered an alternate design, which would be on two levels below the main video scoreboard and include the names and numbers of West Virginia football's two retired jerseys, Ira Errett Rodgers and Sam Huff.

Plans to make these upgrades have been in the works for some time now and April Messerly, director of WVU athletics facilities and operations, says there are many reasons for the change.

"We recognize the fact that we want to do some imaging and branding in the stadium that celebrates our school colors and our logo and that kind of thing and also looks great when we have nationally televised games," Messerly says. "We want it to look great when we bring a recruit in here when we have no one else in the stadium and it really speaks to the recruit or the fans that hey, this is where the Mountaineers play."

Recruiting is certainly a major factor that leads to upgrades like this. Give the people who enter the stadium a way to connect with the facilities are them in a manner that stays with them when they leave. That is the thought, at least.

In order to be prepared for further changes that may be made in coming years, specific colors and fonts become more important so that everything has the same theme.

"We're constantly reviewing our imaging, our branding, our graphics – that's what recruits like to see," says Messerly. "Whether you're at the entrance to the stadium looking up at the north gate sign or if you're in your seat looking at the field graphics, we want everything to have a consistent look and feel."

WVU currently has a navy blue on the field, but a royal blue on the scoreboard. To encompass both of those colors, two blues are used in the graphics, blending together through the design.

The winning bidder will be responsible for removing the section signs along the walls as well as the current names and numbers of Huff and Rodgers, but other problems exist.

A number of electrical panels are on the walls on each side that will get in the way of the graphics. A representative of one of the firms on hand Monday said that the plan at this point looks to be building some sort of gate in front of the panels so that the graphic can easily flow over it without having to restructure the wall itself.

The panels are precisely where the school's logo is on the graphics.

"We're trying to retrofit something to fit a stadium that was built in 1980, but we're figuring it out and trying to add a little more color to the inside of the stadium," says Messerly.

Added color is just a part of what Messerly and the athletic department are considering for the future at Milan Puskar Stadium. The first order of business is the concourse area, restrooms and concessions.

Messerly says the pyrite that makes up much of the concourse area has presented structural issues that the university intends to address as changes are made.

"Maybe we fix the west side issues there and start with the concourse and the restrooms and the concession stands and then eventually we do something at the north end, but to where it all flows and feels like this is how Mountaineer Field was built originally. We don't want it to feel hodgepodge or like we did one thing 10 years ago and it really doesn't match," says Messerly.

Another addition that has been brought up is that of a "party deck" nearby Touchdown Terrace, something that remains in the early planning stages but is on the agenda for future completion.

"There are various plans for down there. A party deck is a loose term," says Messerly. "I think it could be an open air area that could be open pregame without having access to the stadium and then maybe changing the access around to once the gates are open, then it is open through the stadium."

The changes begin with the graphic banners, which have a substantial completion date of Aug. 24 and a final completion date of Aug. 29, just in time for the football season to begin on Sept. 1.

If the winning bidder fails to complete the project by that deadline, it will owe the university $1,000 for each day over the deadline and an additional $5,000 for any home game that it is not done.

With a new conference come many changes, and a number of them at WVU will take place within – and on – its stadium walls.

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