With building construction not deemed an essential business during the recent COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns of nonessential businesses, construction has stopped at at least two collegiate sports venues in Pittsburgh.
Duquesne athletic director Dave Harper confirmed to Pittsburgh Sports Now that construction has been halted at UPMC Chuck Cooper Fieldhouse, the new home of Duquesne basketball and volleyball that was scheduled to open this fall.
A Pitt athletics spokesperson has confirmed to PSN that construction has also come to a halt on Pitt’s expansion of the Petersen Sports Complex, where the very first construction phase of athletic director Heather Lyke’s Victory Heights campus facilities plan was supposed to finish up this summer.
The third-floor expansion will provide new offices for the baseball, softball and soccer teams that call the complex home.
The remained of Lyke’s Victory Heights project has not yet been impacted by any potential delay, with ground not scheduled to break on the new gymnastics, volleyball and wrestling arena until the summer of 2021.
Furthermore, Lyke said that any funding shortfalls from Pitt’s expected NCAA and ACC revenues will not impact that project, which is being backed by university funding along with the support of private donors.
“At this point, no, it does not impact that,” Lyke said in a videoconference with Pittsburgh media members on Thursday. “Victory Heights is not scheduled to be funded out of those allocations. We rely a lot on private support.”
Lyke said that the coronavirus-related shutdown of many businesses and overall economic downturn since the pandemic reached the United State has made fundraising a tough proposition as of late.
“We’re grateful for all of our donors that have given and supported that project,” she said. “We’re a little bit in a holding pattern, frankly, as you can respect and expect, in terms of aggressively fundraising. I would say we were aggressively fundraising right before this happened. We had 15 majors gifts in 16 weeks. We had really good momentum and great support and understanding of the project. But our university is supportive of this project as well and is behind it.”
The Victory Heights program is also expected to construct a new training facility alongside the new competition facility for gymnastics, volleyball and wrestling; along with an indoor track and field facility; a band practice facility and a new lacrosse stadium.