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University of Charleston to build sports facility

Charleston Daily Mail photo by Bob Wojcieszak University of Charleston President Dr. Ed Welch along with Jamie Bessette, vice president for marketing, introduce the University’s new Russell and Martha Werhle Innovation Center Tuesday during an announcement at the UC campus in Charleston.
Charleston Daily Mail photo by Bob Wojcieszak
University of Charleston President Ed Welch along with Jamie Bessette, vice president for marketing, introduce the university’s new Russell and Martha Werhle Innovation Center Tuesday during an announcement at the UC campus in Charleston.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The University of Charleston announced Wednesday plans to begin construction on a long-awaited sports facility estimated to cost $15.5 million.

Having been in various stages of development for years, the project recently secured a major source of funding when the Martha Gaines and Russell Wehrle Memorial Foundation pledged to give the school $3 million. University President Ed Welch said the facility will be named the Russell and Martha Wehrle Innovation Center to honor the late businessman and state senator.

The new building will replace the Eddie King Gym, which is the oldest facility on campus, and will house locker rooms, offices and an innovation center, which the foundation donated an additional $2 million to start. The center is intended to foster innovation and entrepreneurialism on campus, Welch said.

The projects are part of more than $100 million in campus renovations. Having remained unchanged for many decades, the university has built several residence halls, a parking garage and a new pharmacy school and has made several renovations to Riggleman Hall and the Geary Student Union.

UC Athletic Director Bren Stevens said the gym, which was built in the late 1940s, had some minor work done to its floor, but it is the only facility on campus to not be renovated…

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