“Victory Heights” Could Transform Pitt Athletics

Pitt AD discusses plans for renovated area near Fitzgerald Field House

Jeff Hathhorn
April 25, 2018 - 7:06 pm
Fitzgerald Field House at Pitt

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Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke believes they now have the right people in place who understand their expectations and now the university needs to provide the coaches with the facilities to win in the ACC.

So Pitt has partnered with an architectural firm to plan “Victory Heights”.   What Lyke calls “a comprehensive plan to put our student-athletes in the best place for success”.

“Victory Heights is about rethinking about the space where the field house is, where Trees Hall is, where the OC Lot is and what can you actually put in that space,” Lyke said.

“We have 16 other teams that work out and train up on the hill in Fitzgerald Field House; that’s 84% of our student-athletes live and learn and train in that facility.  It’s a 1951 facility that needs significant change.”

The Panthers athletic director pointed out the weight room at the field house isn’t even air conditioned.  Saying, for example, they have great track coaches, but don’t have a real track.

Among what is a part of the plans to add to that area.

  • Center for Human Performance.  A state-of-the-art strength and conditioning area, sports medicine, some level of human performance research, coach’s offices and potentially the home for the new Pitt Hall of Fame.
  • New 3,000 seat arena for volleyball, wrestling and gymnastics.
  • New indoor track that would be 300 meters where they could host events and connect with the Cost Center.  Lyke believes the recent renovations are already in place at the Cost Center, but it needs a face-lift.

Lyke said she’s worked with the school so they wouldn’t overlap academic projects and got a footprint of land for their plans.  She says Chancellor Patrick Gallagher has been very supportive.

“You have to see things differently,” Lyke added.  “Right now you know the OC Lot is parking, what if it wasn’t?  We know where the field house is right now, but what if it wasn’t a field house?  How would it look and feel differently?”

They are currently in the process of fundraising, in a time they refer to as “silent phase”, where they only show the plans to potential donors and eventually will make their ideas public. 

Projected numbers and estimates are not available right now.  There is no specific timeline for this project and Lyke admits that it will take a lot of work to complete.

“We need to show a demonstrated commitment to comprehensive excellence from a facilities standpoint,” Lyke said.  “That needs to happen.  The plans are bold, necessary and transformative.”

Are there plans for an on-campus football stadium?

“Not at this time”