The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

June 5, 2014

‘We’re going to get it done’

Saints practice facility at Greenbrier moving toward completion

By Cam Huffman
Sports Editor

— Could the Super Six eventually end up in southern West Virginia? What about West Virginia or Marshall university football practices? A major soccer tournament?

Greenbrier owner Jim Justice said Tuesday anything’s possible.

With the construction of the $25 million New Orleans Saints practice facility at The Greenbrier resort nearly complete, many are starting to wonder what could happen to the facility the 48 weeks out of the year when the Saints are in New Orleans.

“It could be anything,” said Justice. “A soccer deal, WVU or Marshall, a (Mountain East Conference) football game or maybe the high school playoffs.

“You think about all of it. But at the same time, the focus is the Saints.”

That focus didn’t just begin when the ground was broken on the facility, either. The idea of a professional football team coming to West Virginia has been a dream of Justice’s for some time, and he’s about to see it come true when the Saints arrive in White Sulphur Springs on July 24.

“It’s really special,” he said. “It’s taken a tremendous amount of doing, and it took a lot when the dream started. I just wouldn’t turn it loose.

“Their people came and said, ‘There’s no way. We can’t practice at Greenbrier East High School. We need fields, weight rooms, training rooms, locker rooms, meeting rooms and everything else under the sun.’ So there were all kinds of challenges. But we’re there.”

Well, almost.

The two grass fields are completed and ready for lines. The ground is leveled and ready for the artificial field, which will be installed in the coming weeks. The shell of the 50,000-square foot building is going up, and the inside, including a pool and all of the rooms will be next.

“We’re probably three or four days ahead of schedule on everything,” said Justice. “And that’s what we want to do.

“It’s a big deal, and we’ve got a lot of people putting in a lot of licks. But it’s going great, and we’re going to get it done.”

— E-mail:chuffman and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.