This year is a special one for Missouri Western as we are celebrating our centennial, 100 years of dedicated teaching to willing and hopeful students.
As if 100 years isn’t exciting enough, there are right now a few renovations in the works that are bound to turn some heads; Spratt Stadium, Potter Hall and the Victory Plaza will certainly be seeing some much needed upkeep.
“The main renovation everyone has seen lots of progress on is Spratt Memorial Stadium,” Jerry Pickman, vice president for university advancement, said.
“Because it is a revenue producing facility, we were able to bond and get the money to build it without having private funds to do it, so that’s how we’re paying off the stadium,” Kim Weddle, director of development said.
The Stadium is one thing that just couldn’t wait.
“At one time, Missouri Western had the best stadium in the conference”, Pickman said. “Yet, now, for the past few years, others have grown and renovated and ours was getting pretty dilapidated.”
After realizing that, and talking to the master planners, a design for a new stadium was underway. This particular renovation was major for a variety of reasons, the most talked about reason being the design for a new video scoreboard proposed by benefactor, Steven Craig.
“It will be the largest in our conference, the largest in NCAA Division II football and larger than a lot of Division I scoreboards and videoboards,” Pickman said.
According to Weddle, the scoreboard will be about seven stories tall.
Director of Athletics, Kurt McGuffin, believes that the new sound system and graphics provided by the new videoboard will give students and fans a better experience overall.
“I think there will be other ways we can get creative and use the videoboard, whether it be commencement or a movie night on the turf for Griffon Edge”, McGuffin said.
The greatest thing about the videoboard is that everybody gets to experience it. July is when the videoboard is expected to be up and running. Therefore, next year, students should be able to experience it up close and personal. Which shouldn’t be a problem, seeing as how the field was moved in 30 feet.
By getting rid of the old concourse, press boxes and stadium club area and completely rebuilding it, the entire aspect is going to be much larger than before. Suites and skyboxes were added, which will provide a great source of revenue for the athletics department if individuals or corporate groups decide they want to lease out any of the 12 suites. The stadium overall will be a lot more user friendly due to the renovations to bathrooms and concession stands. of which there should be twelve altogether. The stadium overall will be a lot more user friendly due to the renovations to bathrooms and concession stands.
“I think very rarely do you get to renovate a whole stadium like we did and where you can really touch everybody that enters with some type of experience factor,” McGuffin said, “When it’s completed this Spring, I think people are going to see that, no matter where you sit or where you go in there, it’s going to be a whole new experience and that’s the exciting thing about it.”
The capital campaign is intended to pay for the renovations of Potter Hall as soon as the money is raised. For the centennial capital campaign that was launched a year ago, an initial goal of $20 million was set. The university is close to meeting that goal. There are still four more years remaining in the campaign to raise the money needed for various things on campus, but for right now, the priority is Potter Hall.
There’s fundraising going on for a $5 million renovation that will hopefully address some of the immediate needs in the facility, like new bathrooms.
“A few renovations have already been done to Potter through the use of reserves,”
Weddle said, “We were able to add the circle drive, a percussion space and new restrooms.”
However, there is still so much that is yet to be done.
“Our ultimate hope is that we can add an 800hundred-seat Fine and Performing Arts center and gallery space to the tune of around $10 million,” Pickman said.
President Robert Vartabedian believes that plans to renovate and grow Potter Hall will “continue to highlight the spectacular work of our students in the School of Fine Arts.”
Last but not least, there is the Victory Plaza, which will be located between the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex and the new Spratt Stadium.
The primary purpose for the Victory Plaza is so everyone has the chance to show their support for the project and/or recognize certain players or former coaches.
“It’s a great way to usher in the new facility,” Pickman said.
The Victory Plaza is a brick program, which means people can purchase bricks and put whatever they want on them, like ‘Go Griffs, their name and graduation date.
So far, 229 bricks have been purchased with prices ranging from $150-$250.
There is also a symbolic victory tree located behind Baker fitness Center where, after each victory, the team goes to close out the game. The origin of the victory tree is that, after every home football victory, teammates, coaches, students and fans gather at the victory tree to hear a post-game speech from the coach followed by the fight song. This has been a tradition since 1994, when Stan McGarvey started it.
In the middle of the Victory Plaza, they want to have a tree, but it may be a statue instead. At the moment, it is undecided. Hopefully, construction for the Victory Plaza can begin in March and be completed before commencement this year.
“Missouri Western has grown tremendously in the first 100 years of the institution,” Dr. Vartabedian said. “As we look to the next 100 years, we must continue to grow and renovate to improve our campus for future generations of students, faculty and staff.”