Missouri knows all about the arms race going on in the SEC. With all the additions and upgrades planned by SEC schools for the next couple of years, Missouri's brass decided it wasn't going to be left watching.
Tuesday's announcement by the school concerning a $30 million private gift from the Kansas City Sports Trust to help jump-start a $200 million master plan for facility improvements means Mizzou isn't just looking to compete on the field in its new conference, it's looking to compete aesthetically as well, especially in football.
The second-largest donation in the school's history is set to, according to a release from the school on Tuesday, "change the landscape of the MU Sports Park for years to come."
“This is indeed an historic day for the university,” Mizzou Chancellor Dr. Brady J. Deaton said in the school's release. “What a poignant and symbolic showing of the support we have as we move into the Southeastern Conference. I’ve said many times that Athletics is the front porch of the institution, and that a strong program benefits Mizzou immeasurably. These planned facility projects will go a long way toward helping guide the future success of our program which is already very strong, and they will help us attract the very best and brightest student-athletes in the nation."
The initial focus will be on projects totaling an estimated $102 million, which will impact Mizzou's football stadium (Memorial Stadium), the baseball stadium, the softball stadium and the tennis complex. Men's and women's golf should also get upgrades to the team and practice facilities in the future. Also in Mizzou's "master plan" is a new indoor football practice facility, an additional weight room and other Olympic sport facility upgrades.
Basically, the Tigers are movin' on up once they get settled in the SEC.
Memorial Stadium has a cool rustic look and feel to it, but it currently ranks 10th in capacity (71,004) among the 14 SEC schools. Soon, the Tigers will jump to ninth (passing Arkansas) after adding at least 6,000 more seats.
Missouri's stadium was due for some upgrades and the end result won't just look nice for those attending/playing games. The hope is that it will catch the eyes of a few recruits, as well. After all, plenty of high school prospects love shiny, new things and the look of a stadium can have an impact on kids. So can the look of a weight room can. Indoor practice facility? You better believe it.
If visuals weren't important in recruiting, you wouldn't see a lot of these schools stressing about upgrades and the way things look. This will only help the Tigers as they look to keep up in the SEC arms race.
Here's a list of the upgrades Memorial Stadium will undergo:
East-side expansion: The addition of an upper bowl with more than 5,000 general admission seats and a club level with more than 1,000 club seats. There will also be associated amenities, including restrooms, concessions, back-of-house kitchen and club lounges. Circulation space will also be added on the main concourse. The anticipated completion of this is for the 2015 season.
West-side press box renovation: The plan is to move the existing press functions up to level 6 and enclose them. Level 5 will also be upgraded to include new premium seating options. Amenities in the existing premium spaces will also be updated. The completion of this is anticipated to be for the 2013 season.
North concourse: The plan is to move the Rock M and berm closer to the North end zone to provide an improved game-day experience for fans, while expanding the north concourse for improved spacing. The anticipated completion for this is set for the 2013 season.
There will also be miscellaneous structural repairs throughout stadium which are expected to be completed for the 2013 season.
For more information about all of Mizzou's upgrades, visit the Tigers' official website.