Board seeks to improve Hughes Stadium

Sallie Beard - Athletics Director

Sallie Beard – Athletics Director

Jessica MacIntosh

Plans to renovate the football stadium topped the agenda at the Board of Governors meeting Jan. 20.

Sallie Beard, athletics director, presented photos of other stadiums such as those at Central Missouri State University, Emporia State University, Northwest Missouri State University, Pittsburg State University and Washburn University.

Four major categories or needs were addressed during the meeting. Fan accommodation, private sponsors, event administration and faculty management were discussed.

One area of concern in the stadium was the space between the stands and the playing field.

“It serves as a disconnect from our fans and the team,” Beard said.

Another area of concern was the luxury boxes and visitor seating. In some of the photographs presented, there was only a small amount of space allowed for visitors during the games.

Beard said the press boxes were either two-tiered or three-tiered in some of the photos shown during the presentation.

In other amenities for the stadium, it was suggested elevators be placed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Beard also discussed adding a spirit store to replace the existing one at the stadium during football games.

“It’s kind of like a sidewalk sale,” she said.

Beard said the tailgaters pose a problem because she thinks it is a loss of homefield advantage and a loss of revenue.

ESU uses fences to separate the field from the surrounding area.

As far as the locker rooms for the players, currently there are locker rooms with one bathroom for approximately 80 men.

On the off-season, they are used for storage. Beard said the visitors’ locker rooms needed to be adequate and not elaborate.

Beard also discussed adding meeting rooms that would also serve as classrooms.

“Currently we have to walk to Webster Hall to have a team meeting,” Beard said.

She said time is wasted traveling from place to place.

“It’s not the best educational retention,” Beard said.

The idea would be to add a building next to the stadium, which would house the meeting rooms, locker rooms, training facilities and offices.

Beard said there would be a process of closing off the stadium, which would act as a visual barrier.

“It’s (the football stadium) not up to standards right now,” said Bart Tatum, new head football coach.

Dwight Douglas, Board member, suggested conceptual drawings be made.

“It’s going to have to be a multistage process,” Douglas said.

“It will help with funding, too,” said Jane Wyman, Board member.

The Board approved the idea to have the conceptual drawings made.

The Board also approved two sabbatical proposals.

Dr. Jay Moorman, head of the department of communication, will spend next semester in Taiwan, and Dr. Danny Overdeer, professor of teacher education, will spend spring semester 2007 in Japan.

University President Julio León said in Gov. Matt Blunt’s State of the State address, there would be a two-percent increase in funding for education.

He said it is a “dramatic” change from the possible 10 to 12 percent decrease in funding.

“It’s a welcoming increase,” León said.

León testified to the House of Representatives in Jefferson City Jan. 24 about the budget.

Other business discussed at the Board meeting:

• Missouri Southern and Southeast Missouri State University will partner for a joint master’s degree program in criminal justice.

• Southern has bought the McCune-Brooks Hospital in Carthage for $1.

“[The] facility will be an addition to our campus,” said Elizabeth Deffenbaugh, Board president.