"If you walk in the hallway of the Henderson Center, you'll see black and white photos of some of our former greats," Hamrick said. "That's the only tribute. Now we can pay tribute in a nice way."
Hamrick also observed the two "small inadequate" training rooms. Those will be replaced by a sports medicine translational research center.
"It'll be 20,000 square feet," Hamrick said. "It will have hydrotherapy ... a pool bigger than the one I swam in in Clendenin growing up."
The facility will have a 300-meter track, giving the track teams a chance to host events.
"Right now," Hamrick said, "they run in the Henderson Center."
Of course, there will also be 120 yards for the football field, including the end zones. On top of it all is the new MU soccer facility, which will seat 1,000, and be ready this August.
"People said we couldn't do this," Hamrick said. "Obviously, though, more believed in it than didn't."
The total tab will be $33 million, according to the AD. It's being paid for with $10 million in bond revenue and $20 million in donations, including ticket surcharges.
"This is a historic occasion," Hamrick said. "We've never done this before. The stadium was paid for by the state of West Virginia."
There were many pratfalls along the way. Three months after Manchin raised the artist's rendering, Kopp tabled the proposed construction and ripped the former governor.
"To have somebody try and jump to the forefront through the process and make a public statement doesn't sit well with me," Kopp said at the time.
The current initiative was approved two years ago by the school's Board of Governors.
"If this was done in the late '90s or early 2000s, it's hard to tell what conference we'd be in right now," Hamrick said.
Finally, finally, finally, though, the Thundering Herd athletic department is playing catch-up to other major universities.
"[Today] a dream becomes a reality," Hamrick said. "At 2 p.m., by God, we're going to start turning dirt."
Turning dirt and, perhaps, turning around the school's athletic fortunes.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.