SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Missouri State University is hoping to kick its multi-million dollar renovation projects into high gear. The University is investing more than 23 million dollars, aimed at pulling in students and getting fans closer to the athletic action.
There are four major projects, each of which should be completed by September of 2014.
"We've had challenges with the weather, but now that Spring has started I feel we've turned a corner," says MSU Project Manager and Architect Brian Hauff.The most prevalent renovation is to the east bleachers at the Plaster Sports Complex. Hauff says the seating will stay around 4,000, but he says new aluminum seats will be installed in place of the old wooden ones, along with concession stands, restrooms and meeting areas for both home and away teams.
"Communication is key, and everyone is working together," said Hauff referring to the other projects simultaneously taking place on campus.
In addition to the stadium renovations which will remove the track and move the football field closer to the grandstands; a new soccer and track complex will be built just to the south of JQH Arena. "One thing that we've tried to do is provide NCAA compliance."
Hauff says that's important, allowing the University to be eligible for tournaments that it cannot currently host. Also included in the list of NCAA regulations the University is following, is a field hockey and Lacrosse area that will be located near the northern end of campus. Also following NCAA regulations is a project construction hasn't even started on: 2 sand volleyball courts that will be located near the Hammons Student Center.
The development related to Missouri State isn't just limited to on campus; off campus Bryan Properties has invested more than 30 million dollars in student living quarters called "Bear Village." The new lease by bed apartments aren't’ part of Missouri State University, but are expected to house hundreds of its students.
The property owners demolished roughly 20 homes to make room for the new developments, "they've served their purpose, but is a good thing to have new housing and change the landscape," says Bryan Properties Operations Assistant Sheri Sommers.
Sommers says the second apartment of a 3 phase construction project should be ready for students in the next few months. She says the developers hope to eventually use the entire block, nearly all of which is owned by Bryan Properties, for student housing.
"We have had no negative feedback (for the project), they're attractive buildings and they're kept up well, " says Sommers referring to the surrounding residents, living just off Missouri State's campus.
The projects on campus will be unveiled over the next six months. Students helped pay for the renovations by agreeing to pay an additional $50 per semester, after it was put to a campus wide vote last year.
Hauff says the stadium renovations should be complete by the Bears first home football game on September 13. He says the renovations are being rolled out separately to ensure an athletic field is always available for use.