Heather Lyke Discusses Pitt’s Victory Heights Initiative

January 15th, 2020 | by CollegeAD
Heather Lyke Discusses Pitt’s Victory Heights Initiative
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Victory Heights
“Three years ago we got here and really tried to assess and evaluate the athletic department and try to determine it’s greatest needs; really trying to elevate all 19 of our teams and put them in a position and them and our coaches the resources to be successful. We realized right away that 16 of our 19 teams worked out in a facility that was really not adequate. We had to look at our landscape in different way and this grew from there.” – Heather Lyke, Pittsburgh Director of Athletics

The University of Pittsburgh today unveiled plans for its Victory Heights initiative, a series of state-of-the-art athletics projects that will provide Pitt student-athletes with national-caliber competition, training and sports performance and medicine facilities.

Lyke tells CollegeAD the University is going to debt finance the Victory Heights project, but they are looking to raise as much money as possible.

“This is going forward, it’s not dependent on ‘x’ amount of dollars, but obviously any money we raise will help offset the debt, but this is going to happen with university support.”

The initiative is part of the University’s campus master plan, which was finished last year after two years of engagement and input from faculty, students and staff, along with community members. The plan is designed to advance Pitt’s aspirations on many fronts, enrich the student experience and create a more connected, outward-looking and engaged university.

“Over the next year we will be in a significant design phase,” Lyke says. “We will break ground on the arena in the summer of 2021 and everything will be open in the fall of 2023 for the arena and the sports performance complex. The track and band facility will be one year behind that opening in the fall of 2024.”

New facilities to be built in the coming years include:

◾A 3,500-seat arena for gymnastics, volleyball and wrestling. Each of those teams currently practice and compete in the 70-year-old Fitzgerald Field House.

◾An eight-lane, 300-meter indoor track for the men’s and women’s programs as well as a band facility. The Panthers’ track and field teams have been without a suitable campus home since the razing of Pitt Stadium in 1999. Additionally, the more than 300-member Pitt Band will utilize this venue for rehearsal, storage and meeting needs.

◾A cutting-edge athletic performance center that will serve the strength and conditioning, sports medicine, nutrition and mental well-being needs for 16 of Pitt’s 19 intercollegiate athletics programs.

“Our focus was really on those 16 sports. Football and basketball are in a good place, their facilities are exceptional. There’s a lot of planning that goes into this from a big picture campus perspective. We have to always evaluate what comes next. But for us right now, Victory Heights is the priority and the need.”

This story first appeared in The NightCap, CollegeAD’s evening newsletter. The NightCap delivers the day’s college athletics news in simple bullet points, giving you what you need to know in just a few lines. Get The NightCap today.

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