Construction begins on baseball stadium

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Brad Stout | The Chart

Representatives from the Lions Baseball team and members of the baseball stadium’s project committee participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for Missouri Southern’s new baseball field Sept. 25. Located east of Fred G. Hughes Stadium near the softball fields, the field will replace Joplin’s Joe Becker Stadium as the home for Lions Baseball.

Brad Stout, Editor-in-Chief

As the latest in a series of campus expansion projects that includes a new end zone facility and a new residence hall complex, Missouri Southern officially broke ground on its new baseball stadium at 10 a.m., Sept. 25.

“What an exciting time at Missouri Southern,” said Matt Nelson, alumus and project committee member. “We’ve got an end zone project across the way, we’re breaking ground for baseball. Things are moving in the right direction for Missouri Southern.”

Located east of Fred G. Hughes Stadium near the softball fields, the new stadium will be equipped with regulation lighting and will include batting cages, bullpens, a press box, a modern concessions stand, ADA-compliant seating and restrooms and a viewing deck that can be used by student, community and alumni groups. It will also have enough fan seating to accommodate 600 people, which will allow Missouri Southern to host NCAA regional and national events.

The need for a new baseball field arose during the spring 2014 semester when it was announced the city of Joplin would be getting its own minor league baseball team and the historic Joe Becker Stadium would no longer be available for Lions baseball.

Funding for the new stadium was provided by the MSSU Baseball Advisory Committee in collaboration with the Missouri Southern Foundation, which raised the $2.5 million needed to complete the project.

The stadium, which was designed by architectural firm Corner Greer & Associates, is expected to be complete in time for the 2015 baseball season. Building efforts will be overseen by Crossland Construction.