Campus campaign eyes athletics

Amye Buckley

The planning process has been reinitiated for upgrading athletic facilities on the east side of Duquesne.

“What the Board did [April 18] was authorize me to raise funds for the new athletics facilities and particularly to raise half a million dollars for the architectural drawings that we will need to know exactly how much that facility will cost,” Speck said.

The plan calls for a baseball field, an athletic support building at the north end of the playing field and, eventually, demolishing the current grandstand seating in favor of a stadium.

“We don’t have a really good estimate of what all that is going to cost,” Speck said.

Once the drawings are completed the plans will be resubmitted to the Board before beginning a capital campaign to raise funds for the project.

The funds raised would go towards two distinct phases with priority placed on construction of a baseball field on Missouri Southern’s campus and an athletic support building.

“What’s most amazing to me is that we don’t have our own baseball field,” Speck said. “You can’t even call it a program without having facilities.”

Southern’s baseball team currently uses Joe Becker Stadium, which is owned by the city.

The other priority is to create a place for student athletes to go when they get off the field. Preliminary sketches from the earlier report suggest an athletic support center housing classrooms, locker rooms, meeting spaces, a weight room, sports medicine facilities, laundry facilities and storage be situated at the north end of the football field.

“We have to be competitive in terms of our athletics,” Speck said. “Why would we tie a hand behind our coaches’ back and behind our student athletes’ back? – that doesn’t make sense to me at all. When you look at conference we have some of the worst facilities around.”

Phase two calls for developing a new facility where Hughes Stadium now sits.