SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missouri State University (MSU) in Springfield will reveal a new track and three synthetic turf fields in August. The project is part of a $24 million makeover to the campus’ athletic and recreation facilities.
Maryland Heights, Mo.-based Byrne & Jones Sports installed the improvements, while locally based DeWitt and Associates Inc. served as the general contractor and St. Louis-based Hastings + Chivetta Architects Inc. served as the architect.
The $24 million makeover includes improvements at four different areas on campus. The largest improvement occurs at Plaster Sports Complex where the existing student seating on the east side of the stadium will be removed and replaced with a new 4,000-seat precast concrete structure. It will feature a raised patio in the grandstand to serve the students, new concessions, restrooms and ticket windows. Also part of the structure, a new game-day meeting room for the football team will be constructed as well as a visitor’s locker room. The existing football field will be removed and relocated closer to the west bleachers in an effort to improve the fan experience.
The existing field north of Glass Hall will be developed into a NCAA regulation soccer field, surrounded by a new synthetic track. Field events will be located at the south of this new field and track, which will include stepple chase, pole vault and a warm-up running area. In addition, a 1,000-seat grandstand with restrooms, locker rooms and a press box will be located on the west side of the facility. A new field hockey and lacrosse field will also be constructed north of Hammons Student Center. This regulation field will support the field hockey program and includes a small grandstand, restrooms and a press box.
The project also includes a pair of sand volleyball courts at the southwest corner of Hammons Student Center. This improvement will also include a press box and an informal seating area along the courts. Each court will have its own scoreboard and the area will be entirely fenced. The fields at the soccer complex, the field hockey complex and the volleyball complex will be secured to allow students access to the fields using their BearPass card.
Construction began in December 2013 and has posed some minor challenges, said Jameson Sheley, general manager for Byrne & Jones Sports. For instance, Byrne & Jones has had limited access to the football field while the bleacher area is being redone, so the company will have just 60 days to install the football field over the summer. Plus, all of the fields are different and must be customized and installed to accommodate the type of sport it will serve, Sheley added.
The 2014 Auxiliary Enterprise Revenue Bonds issued in February 2014 funded the project. The revenue stream that will repay the bonds is being taken from the student-approved, $50-per-semester Bears Experience and Recreation (B.E.A.R.) Fee; central funding; a private gift commitment; and auxiliary bond payments that roll off and will be redirected in 2017. Additional private gifts are expected in the future for naming opportunities.
“We are able to take this step because of our students,” said Missouri State President Clifton M. Smart III in a statement. “They had the vision; they took the initiative and they approved a fee that will cover the vast majority of this work. From a university standpoint, I think these facilities can be a game-changer for how the university is viewed, in its appeal to students, and for the success of our students and athletic teams.”