With less than a week before the University of Missouri officially enters the Southeastern Conference, the UM board of curators has approved the first half of a project that Athletic Director Mike Alden says will “change the face” of the University of Missouri sports park. At a regular meeting yesterday, curators approved the $102 million project to expand and update athletic facilities on the Columbia campus.
Head Football Coach Gary Pinkel says the new facilities will rival those of other SEC schools and will help bring in good recruits: "It’s great for many reasons, but it’s also huge for recruiting. Players want to go to the place where they’re going to be the best, where they have the excellence and facilities as good as anybody in the country, and that’s what we’re going to have."
The facilities slated for renovations are Memorial Stadium, Taylor Stadium, University Field, Mizzou Tennis Complex and facilities for the men’s and women’s golf teams. The addition of 6,000 seats will bring the football stadium’s capacity up to more than 77,000. Alden says the project is a statement that Mizzou is ready to move into what many believe to be the best athletic conference in the nation: "We want to make sure we show that we show that to the country, not just to the SEC and the state of Missouri that Mizzou as an institution is serious—completely serious—about stepping up in a big way."
After the board of curators meeting, the Athletic Department also announced a $30 million donation from the Kansas City Sports Trust that will be put toward the project.
To finance the rest of the renovations, the department asked the board to approve $72 million in bonds. Alden says he hopes the bonds will be paid off quickly through ticket sales and a capital campaign that will begin soon.
At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Board also approved the budget for the 2013 fiscal year and the construction of a 28.4 million dollar residence hall on the Columbia campus.