HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Marshall's Board of Governors has waved the kelly green flag to begin construction of the long-awaited Indoor Athletic Facility, adjacent to Joan C. Edwards Stadium.During its regular meeting Thursday, the board awarded a $16.35 million contract to J&H Erectors of Portsmouth, Ohio, to construct the building, which will house a 120-yard turf field and a 300-meter track.The contract also calls for building the shell of a new Hall of Fame, a new student-athlete academic center, and the Sports Medicine Translational Research Center. There is also $585,000 of other improvements that can be added, pending further contributions to MU's Vision Campaign.Including the $8 million soccer complex that is currently under construction, the total price is estimated at $30 million. The school said in a release that $15 million of $20 million in private funds have been raised, with an additional $10 million raised through ticket surcharges.
Groundbreaking has been set for April 26, the day before the Green-White Game, with construction to begin in earnest in 30 to 60 days.Football coach Doc Holliday would jump in a bulldozer and turn some earth, if he felt it would move the process along."It's huge. It's huge for the entire athletic department," Holliday said. "Give [athletic director] Mike Hamrick an awful lot of credit. For him to get done what he's gotten done in economic conditions that are out there throughout the state, throughout the country, it's an amazing accomplishment on his part."Can't turn back now. The shovel's going in the ground on Friday [the 26th], I guess, and once it starts we can't turn back, which is great. It will be tremendous for our recruiting, us being able to work out in the winter, prepare for bowls, that type of thing."Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, email@example.com or at twitter.com/dougsmock.