Beard: Stadium drawings ‘good place to start’

During the April 21 Board of Governors meeting, basic conceptual drawings of the Hughes stadium renovations were presented with an estimated cost of close to $2.5 million.

“I was excited we had some drawings to look at and I thought that it was a good step,” said Sallie Beard, athletics director. “It’s a place to start. I thought it was a good first step.”

Bart Tatum, head football coach, said the important word is basic.

“We are still in the early planning stages unfortunately,” Tatum said.

He said the process of renovating the stadium has been slow.

“It’s back to the committee now for more recommendations,” Tatum said. “The excitement stems from the fact that obviously the decision makers from the president to the Board of Governors to the athletic administration, everybody understands that changes are needed.”

Beard said the drawings are in the preliminary stages.

“I think we would like to have everything that was talked about,” she said.

Tatum said he has confidence in the committee’s decisions.

“I feel very strongly that the final product will be something Missouri Southern will be proud of,” he said.

He thinks there are people who would like to see upgrades made for the fans in which they would be able to have better views of the action on the football field and make it more comfortable for those who want to see the game. He said this would also be an improvement for the student athletes and prospective student athletes.

“Our guys deserve better,” Tatum said.

University President Julio León said the drawings were interesting.

“I think if we could do all of the things that were suggested, it would be great for our stadium,” León said.

During the Board meeting, León said he would like to see the two-story building, which would be built on the northern or southern sides of the stadium, be the first priority.

“You have to take for instance right now that building would contain locker rooms [and] coaches’ offices,” he said. “All of those things right now are in Leggett & Platt.”

He said whenever the team has practices, the players have to walk across campus and the road to reach the stadium.

“Even on game day, they still have to do that including the visiting team,” León said.

He said the field and the track have been recently renovated and are new.

“I believe that it’s (the building) an obvious necessity,” León said.

As the other two parts, León believes providing the people who support the athletics program and becoming competitive in order to attract football players to the University.

“It’s going to be very important from that standpoint,” he said.

As far as the cost to renovate the stadium, Beard said she was not surprised by the numbers.

Tatum said he was in a program at Northwest Missouri State University that spent $10 million on its stadium.

“The student body, with extra student fees, voted to spend over $3 million,” Tatum said, “and then we raised around $6 million and then there was an additional $1.5-plus million spent on other things to do with the stadium. The numbers they were throwing out at the Board of Governors meeting was pretty low to what I’ve seen.”

Tatum said he is pleased.

“I think this institution, I think our students and athletes deserve it (the stadium),” he said. “It will be interesting to see the final product.”