Future of Fitzgerald Field House to be Determined Upon Completion of Victory Heights
The Fitzgerald Field House houses 16 of Pitt’s 19 athletic programs, but upon the completion of the Victory Heights complex, it will not serve a purpose.
The Field House currently serves as the venue for volleyball, gymnastics and wrestling events while also functioning as a training facility for the track & field teams. A large majority of Pitt’s athletic offices are housed in the Field House, too.
And if Heather Lyke, Pitt’s Director of Athletics, is correct in her estimations, Victory Heights will soon take over as the central hub for almost all of Pitt athletics.
“Currently, our track team is in there still,” Lyke said Thursday. “So, the last phase of Victory Heights is to build an indoor track and band complex, and obviously, we had announced that Herb Douglas’ name would be on the indoor track, and so we owe it — and that’s going to happen.
“So, we’re gonna build an indoor track and band complex, and once that is built, we can vacate the Field House, and the university will determine really the best use. There hasn’t been anything definitive decided on that space, but it will become university property.”
Victory Heights, Pitt’s state-of-the-art athletic complex, will serve as the new location for not just volleyball, gymnastics and wrestling but every athletic program aside from football and men’s and women’s basketball. It’s a $240 million investment that targets both the student-athlete experience in Pittsburgh and the quality of Pitt athletics’ facilities as a whole.
But while Victory Heights is adjacent to the Petersen Events Center, connected by a walkway at the upper level of both buildings, the indoor track and band complex will be built up the road a bit. And Lyke estimates that it will be completed roughly a year after Victory Heights.
Lyke said that the indoor track and band complex will replace the Pitt Sports Dome, which is separated from the Petersen Events Center by a couple of parking complexes — including the Allequippa Street Parking Garage, the OC Lot and the Trees Field Parking Lot.
Parking — and general space — in Oakland is a hot-button issue. And when it comes to Allequippa Street and using it to maneuver the surrounding area, Lyke said the road will remain open upon the completion of Victory Heights — bordering both Victory Heights and the surrounding student housing.
“If you’ve been up there, past the dorms, they’ve reconfigured it as it comes down through and it doesn’t have the same curve that it once had,” Lyke said. “It’s still closed off, it’s still under construction. Allequippa will still border on that side of our facilities.”
And when it comes to parking lots in Oakland, especially around the Petersen Events Center and Victory Heights, while Lyke said that nothing is untouchable, there is no plan to definitive plans when it comes to utilizing parking space around the facilities.
“I would say nothing’s untouchable because we all reconfigure, you have to have a vision and you have to plan out — a lot of these events, students are coming to, they’re walking to, but we will keep those lots until we don’t need them,” Lyke said.
“Maybe the Field House turns into a parking garage, there’s opportunities — we have ideas around the spaces that are available. But I would say nothing is untouchable.”
With the new student recreation center scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2024, Victory Heights in the fall of 2025 and the indoor track and band complex in the fall of 2026, there will be quite a few new athletic facilities in Oakland in the years to come.
I wish they’d had an indoor track when I was there.
Not that I’d have used it, of course, but it would have been nice to have the option.