Committee determines renovations for stadium

Sallie Beard - Athletics Director

Sallie Beard – Athletics Director

Jessica MacIntosh

Within the last year, a committee has determined what areas were in need of improvement at Fred Hughes Stadium.

“We looked at the entire complex,” said Sallie Beard, athletics director.

Beard said the Board of Governors asked to have a committee formed due to informal conversations about having the stadium improved.

“I think that’s what encouraged the Board of Governors to ask to have a committee formed,” Beard said.

The committee looked at the facility and what areas needed improvements.

Beard said the west and the east sides were looked at.

“We recommended extensive changes to our current existing stadium facilities to ensure student welfare, to accommodate fans in a comfortable environment, to promote efficient event management and to provide convenient facilities for instruction,” said Dr. Terri Agee, vice president for business affairs.

Agee said the committee looked at other schools within the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.

The committee proposed the construction of an athletic facility that would house locker rooms for the teams, training rooms, classrooms, coaches’ offices, storage, weight rooms, laundry rooms and locker rooms for the officials.

“That was really the top priority,” Agee said.

Beard said depending on what camp one would come from would depend on the greatest needs.

She said they need improved dressing rooms for the football teams.

“We don’t have enough space to have adequate locker space over here in this building,” Beard said, “and the fact that we have lockers over here in this building is part of the problem.”

She said there are no lockers onsite at the stadium. The bathroom and shower facilities are also inadequate, Beard said.

“What we do have over at the stadium is only suitable for a brief meeting at pre-game and halftime,” Beard said. “Both the home and visitors teams have to go from this building (Leggett & Platt Athletic Center) to that building.”

Beard also said other area of concern is for the public.

“I think they feel like it’s time to have some improvements made to the home side,” she said.

Beard said there is a disconnect between the stands and the football field.

“If we have the ability somehow to bring the crowd closer to the track,” she said, “and therefore closer to the football field, would be [a] great. If we do that right, we can gain storage [and] we can gain all kinds of more functional facilities.”

Agee said with moving the west side stands next to the field, you could “become more engaged in the action of the field.”

“That would be a really wonderful improvement,” she said.

The goal is to make seating more comfortable. With the renovations, the stadium could have more seating or it could have less seating.

“Right now, it’s pretty cramped,” Beard said. “It’s very difficult for people to move up and down the aisles.”

On the other hand, the other area is in the media.

“We don’t have adequate space for KGCS, the print media or other electronic media to work from our press box,” she said.

She said they do not have the ability to entertain or show hospitality for dignitaries and the coaching boxes are in need of change.

Agee said they also proposed a better spirit store, ticket booth and concession stands.

“We talked about adding boxes for corporate sponsorship,” she said.

With the proposed changes to the stadium, Beard said the athletics department would not move from its current location.

Beard said it would be exciting to see changes made to the stadium.

“I think that if we go about this the right way, I think it will reap benefits for the entire campus,” she said.

Conceptual drawings have been proposed at the Jan. 20 Board meeting.