WHEELING - Wheeling Central football coach and athletics director Mike Young believes there's an ''80 to 85-percent'' chance the Maroon Knights will be playing their home football games at Wheeling Jesuit's James LaRosa Field this fall.
Young had been talking to WJU President Richard Beyer and AD Danny Sancomb, among others, at the school for more than a year in hopes of extending what is already a strong catholic partnership between the two schools.
The plan is to add another soccer field on campus, cover it, along with the soccer field inside the track at LaRosa that will be lined for football, with field turf, then take the necessary steps to get things ready for football.
Wheeling Jesuit’s James LaRosa Field may soon be the site of Wheeling Central’s home football games.
The facility already has locker rooms and rest rooms under each side of the stands, meaning few logistical changes would need to be made. They've already done feasibility studies for traffic, parking, and things of that nature.
''We've been striking up several conversations with community strong powers or money people to gauge their interest in supporting it,'' Young said. ''It's been a year and things are starting to come to fruition.''
While Wheeling Central already plays its home games in a state-of-the-art facility (Wheeling Island Stadium), that field is owned by Ohio County Schools and the Knights must work around others for scheduling purposes.
Young pointed out that the only venue Wheeling Central owns in terms of athletic facilities is its gym. The baseball and softball teams play on city property, while the lacrosse and soccer teams play at Wheeling Island Stadium.
''We don't actually have any ownership,'' Young said. ''This could be the start toward that, a partnership with Wheeling Jesuit.''
For Wheeling Jesuit, which does not offer football but calls the complex home to its soccer, lacrosse and rugby teams, the benefit is increased exposure from some new blood on campus and continuing its strong catholic partnership.
''We're happy proud we are going to be a part of it,'' Young said.
The cost for the entire plan is said to be right around $2 million.