Villanova's latest $18 million athletics facility project isn't for the basketball team. Jay Wright's program got their similarly-priced facility around eight years ago, and now it is the football team's chance for an upgrade to their headquarters. The new construction will replace the Butler Annex space attached to the Jake Nevin Fieldhouse, within the footprint of the existing Villanova stadium.
The program raised $15 million of the project cost prior to breaking ground and donations to the effort are being raised as part of the university's ambitious $600 million capital campaign. Other than a $1 million donation from football hall-of-famer Howie Long, the project's major donors have not been publicly named. The weight room to be located in the new building will be named after Long in honor of his donation.
Construction on the facility is expected to take about a year to complete, allowing it to open for business before the 2016 season. In addition to the new weight room, which will replace the recently-refurbished 'powerhouse' located under the North Stands of the stadium, the building will contain a football locker room, coaches' offices, equipment room, academic support resources, a 100-seat meeting room, and reception/training table area.
"The West End Zone Project will not only be a game changer for the entire Athletic Department, it will also elevate Villanova Football on many levels," Wildcat head coach Andy Talley said in a statement. "The locker room, offices, meeting space and academic center will provide us with one of the top facilities in all of FCS Football."
While many of those spaces will focus on football, the building will be available for athletes from other varsity sports as well.
"The West End Zone facility is one of the most impactful projects undertaken by Villanova Athletics," outgoing Director of Athletics Vince Nicastro stated. "This facility will literally have a positive influence on every one of our programs and student-athletes, and will serve to improve their development both in competition and in the classroom."
The university is still soliciting donations toward the final $3 million of the project cost. They have posted renderings of the completed facility online, and promise to provide regular construction updates on Villanova.com.