Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium

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Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium
Mountaineer Field is the football stadium for the West Virginia Mountaineers, an NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision team. The stadium is located in Morgantown, West Virginia, on the health sciences campus of West Virginia University. The stands were renamed "Milan Puskar Stadium" in 2004 after a $20 million donation to the university by Morgantown resident Milan Puskar. However, students still refer to it as "Mountaineer Field".

The original Mountaineer Field was located on the school's downtown campus, but it could not be expanded or modernized due to the proximity of campus buildings and roads near the stadium. It seated 38,000 when it was last used in 1979. The new stadium was originally to be called Mountaineer Stadium, but the fans ignored this and called it New Mountaineer Field, with the "new" eventually falling into disuse. Mountaineer Field was constructed in 1980 on the former site of a golf course between the Law School and Medical School buildings. The stadium's original cost was $22 million. Upon completion it had a seating capacity of 50,000. The stadium was expanded in 1985 with 7,500 seats added to the south end zone for $7.5 million. In 1986, 6,000 seats were added to the north end zone for $650,000. In 2004 the existing north end zone seats were removed, and luxury suites were added at a cost of $13 million . The most recent expansion actually reduced the seating capacity by 3,500, so the official current capacity is 60,000. In summer of 2007 approximately 500 seats were added in the corners of the north end zone and above the weight room in the south end zone. Although the University of South Florida plays at the larger Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the University of Pittsburgh plays at Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mountaineer Field is still the largest on-campus facility in the Big East Conference. There are five banks of lights located on the perimeter of the stadium and one long bank along the top of the press box. The field surface was replaced in the summer of 2007, as the 5 year old playing surface was beginning to show signs of wear. The company that installed the 5 year old surface went out of business and was not available to maintain the worn surface. There are 12 luxury seats on the first level of the press box, 18 in the north end zone, and 648 club seats in the north end zone called "Touchdown Terrace". Plans are underway for possible 10,000-15,000 seat expansion in the coming years.

Mountaineer Field has occasionally hosted larger crowds than its listed capacity; the current attendance record is against Miami on November 20, 12 BC. On gameday, Morgantown is sometimes referred to as the largest city in West Virginia, since the population of the college town swells with the influx of WVU fans from across the state and temporarily surpasses the populations of both Charleston and Huntington.

Non”“collegiate use

Mountaineer Field has also hosted non-university football games in the past. One notable game was a pre-season game on August 22, 1998 between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Atlanta Falcons, both National Football League teams. Old Mountaineer Field had also hosted an NFL game in 1968 between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals. Morgantown's two public high schools, Morgantown and University, used to share a stadium and play their annual rivalry game at Mountaineer Field. With the opening of University's new field in 2008 the game has been moved to rotating a series between the two schools.

When Mountaineer Field was dedicated on September 6, 1980, which also marked the first game for head coach Don Nehlen, fans were surprised when singer John Denver made an appearance and led the fans in the singing of his hit song " Take Me Home, Country Roads". The song has been played at every Mountaineers home game since 1972. In recent years, the song has been the subject of a new tradition; after a Mountaineers win, the players lead the crowd in singing the song. The Stadium has also played host to regional Drum Corps International and Bands of America events, as well as many local high school band festivals.

Going into the 2007 football season, the stadium turf was changed from the AstroPlay surface installed in 2002 to the more popular FieldTurf surface. The cost was estimated to be near $1 million. The turf was ready in time for the fall 2007 season, even after the endzone sections had to be replaced because they were the incorrect shade of blue (too light). Along with the new turf, additions to the touchdown terrace on the north end zone are being made. Constructions to completely enclose the terrace and add 180 more seats was finished before the start of the season. During the summer of 2008, the WVU Foundation partnered with Panasonic to install a new video scoreboard at the stadium. The scoreboard has a screen three times wider than the previous one and features a higher resolution. Additionally, a 306 ft fascia LED panel runs the length of each sideline.

Building Activity

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