PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) – The University of Pikeville announced the agreement to purchase 220 acres of land, to one day house all its outdoor athletic facilities.
“You can’t really define the opportunity it’s going to have for us. In recruiting, just word of mouth people calling and the interest of people saying. ‘This is really exciting’ and we’re really excited about our university in general, but this adds another layer of excitement of where we’re headed and the trajectory of our campus,” said Kelly Wells, UPIKE’s athletic director.
The property, now known as Bear Mountain, will be home to football, soccer, tennis, cross country, track and field, archery, softball and baseball, in addition to the UPIKE athletic programs.
The property is on top of a hilltop off Cedar Creek Road in Pikeville, less than 2 miles away from campus.
“To have all of that there in one site will really be transformational in terms of the amount of coverage we can get. The amount of help that will be in one place will just be off the charts for us,” Wells said.
Through the years, the university has had partnerships with the city, using facilities throughout town, such as the football team sharing a field with Pikeville High School.
“Bear Mountain will give us an opportunity to change the whole dynamic of what football and baseball and softball, tennis, soccer and all of those look like for us,” Wells said.
Wells says this project is a big selling point for recruitment, and he is already seeing students and coaches excited for what this will bring.
“It will be a nice change from sharing a field with Pikeville High School,” said incoming freshman football player Parker Preece. “I wanted to be a part of it playing on a nice brand new field.”
Preece is excited to see the university investing in improving athletics.
“I think it is really going to bring a new wave to the University of Pikeville, and hopefully we’ll have guys coming from everywhere, and we’ll hopefully win a couple of championships,” he said.
Well says this is not just going to be a spot for student athletes and their families, he’s hoping it will draw the community, as well as plans that include room for tailgating, playgrounds and walking and biking trails.
“We want that to be the place that people went to go to. We’re very proud of the traditions that we have here. This will be a new tradition,” Wells said. “We want people to get used to traveling through there riding their bikes through there. That might even be the cruising place, who knows? It’s just great opportunity for us to give back to a community that always gives to us.”
As of now, the university has not announced a timeline of when the complex will open.
Copyright 2022 WSAZ. All rights reserved.