The WVU Coliseum is one of the oldest basketball facilities in the Big 12 Conference. It currently is undergoing a problem other old arenas and buildings also experience.
On Friday, it was discovered that the WVU Coliseum may have asbestos.
This is fairly bad timing as the WVU Coliseum is currently undergoing a major renovation. Upgrades to the facility include the addition of new concession venues, a widening of the main concourse and renovating luxury levels of the building.
Classrooms for the College of Physical Activity and Sports Science that once were in the upper level of the WVU Coliseum have recently been moved out and placed in a new building on the Evansdale Campus.
It’s hard to tell if the asbestos concerns will derail the current state of the construction process. According to WVUsports.com, results from testing could be recorded in one day.
“We found some material that is suspect asbestos containing, therefore we are going to close down the building effective immediately so that we can assess the situation properly,” said WVU Director of Environmental Health and Safety John Principe.
The WVU Coliseum is 46 years old. In the Big 12 Conference, only Gallagher-Iba Arena at Oklahoma State and Allen Fieldhouse at Kansas are older. So, the renovation project couldn’t have come at a better time for the WVU basketball program and Mountaineer fans.
If there happens to be legs to this asbestos discovery, things could be taking a major halt.
Earlier this week, WVU head coach Bob Huggins announced that the Gold and Blue Debut event will take place in Wheeling, as opposed to the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown.
This move will allow teams in the Northern Panhandle to get a first look at the hoops program for the upcoming season. Also, it was likely moved to WesBanco Arena in downtown Wheeling because of the ongoing construction at the WVU Coliseum.
If asbestos is indeed infesting the WVU Coliseum, the Mountaineers could be taking their 2016-17 show on the road. WesBanco Arena could host some regular season games, like it did in the 1999-2000 season.
The WVU Coliseum shut down for a year as it was removed from the facility. Obviously obstructing that basketball season, the Mountaineers played “home” games in Fairmont, Martinsburg, Charleston and even Wheeling.
That takes away from the true college basketball spirit that permeates through Morgantown. It would be a shame if that happens again, especially when the Mountaineers look to be one of the premier programs in the Big 12.
Travel is already hard enough for the Midwest teams that come to WVU. If the Big 12 is forced to come to the small cities in the state, there will be an outcry much larger than that from the Mountaineers.