While no Hokie necessarily wants to imitate the Seminoles or Cavaliers, this probably should’ve been strong evidence that the practice field option was a viable one.
Instead, Weaver and associate director of athletics for internal affairs Tom Gabbard pressed ahead with a pair of controversial plans and further delayed the construction of the facility.
Honestly, it’s puzzling that the department pushed for the Stadium Woods site in the first place.
The university’s “Master Plans” for both 2006 and 2009 list the Washington Street site as the proposed location for the new facility.
While school officials have frequently made it clear that those plans were fluid, the eventual nomination of the Stadium Woods site came as quite a surprise.
The location was clearly very convenient, but that’s just one small part of what the administration should’ve considered.
Although it’s unlikely that Weaver and Gabbard could’ve predicted exactly how strong the opposition to the project would be, it’s still confusing that they thought that a university as agriculturally oriented as Tech is would let the destruction of the trees pass unnoticed.
After all, the Arbor Day Foundation has awarded the university with “Tree Campus USA” honors for its dedication to forestry management four different times.
But even before activists started taking notice of the project, it would’ve made sense that the athletic department took the predominant pro-nature sentiment around Blacksburg more seriously.
Now, Gabbard suggested that 2015 would be an optimistic estimation the completion of the new facility.
The department could’ve started things much sooner had officials just examined other options that required some compromise, instead of pushing ahead with a pair of divisive plans.
Concerns that the practice field could disrupt the football team by limiting the size of the outdoor field or by cluttering the area with construction are greatly outweighed by the damage this indecision did to the coaches’ recruiting efforts.
Tech has desperately needed a new practice facility to keep up with other big programs, and had the athletic department taken a different approach to the endeavor, maybe it wouldn’t have taken more than a decade to make it happen.