Athletic facilities upgraded to world-class
by Jack Williams
While Virginia Tech athletic teams continue to build a new tradition on the playing field, the university is busy building an athletic complex that ranks among the nation's best.
The new focal point of Tech's sparkling athletic complex is the Merryman Center. This all-purpose, 40,000-square-foot building, located just a good punt from Lane Stadium/Worsham Field, was dedicated Sept. 26 before the Pittsburgh football game.
The building is named for the F.W. "Sonny" Merryman family of Rustburg, Va., whose gift made the construction possible. Many other loyal Tech alumni, fans, and friends also contributed to the Merryman fund.
The entrance to the athletic complex will be furnished with $1 million in furniture, fixtures, and a display of memorabilia from athletic seasons gone by. The entrance should be completed by the start of the 1999 football season.
Also housed in the Merryman Center are an academic center, classroom area, 130-seat auditorium, conditioning and weightlifting complex, multipurpose gymnasium, and an expanded area for sports medicine and training.
Several other projects have changed the face of the Tech athletic complex:
- Major improvements have made Lane Stadium/Worsham Field more comfortable for fans. All concrete risers in the stadium were sealed and the west stands sport locust seating, a gift from Tech alumnus Mitch Carr and Augusta Lumber of Staunton, Va.
- A half-million dollars worth of AstroTurf was laid in Rector Field House, giving Tech an indoor football facility as nice as any in the nation.
- The Johnson-Miller Outdoor Track Complex beside Rector Field House was dedicated in October 1997. The new Mondo track surface is exactly like the one at the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta. The track was made possible by gifts from former Tech track stars Stuart Johnson and Jack William Miller. Inside the track is a soccer field, used for the first time in 1997.
- A new softball field, with modern dugouts of Hokie stone, was inaugurated last season.
- The new baseball press box at English Field also was put in use in 1997.
- Exterior renovations and modernization of the men's locker room at Cassell Coliseum give Tech one of the finest basketball facilities in the United States. The basketball locker room reconstruction was done with a gift from Blacksburg realtor Pat Cupp and his wife, Sandy.
Jack Williams retired as sports information director in June.
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