Facility faces delayed start

Alexandra Nicolas

Though behind schedule, Missouri Southern still has an indoor practice field and weather shelter in its future.

Groundbreaking was slated for early 2009, but planning setbacks have pushed starting construction to the beginning of the fall 2009 semester. However, Rob Yust, assistant vice president for business affairs, hopes construction can begin earlier.

“It seems like quicker you want it done, the longer it takes,” he said.

Original concerns surrounding the project included expiditing construction so as not to lose state funding, but commitments from the school along with early requests have secured the requisite $2 million, money that now sits in Southern accounts.

“The funds are released when the University requested them,” said Sen. Gary Nodler (R – Joplin)

Requests have gone out to architectural firms seeking plans for a practice facility and weather shelter that will include a full 100-yard practice field with turf, end zones and restrooms.

Adapted plans for the project have moved it from it’s original location on the south side of Fred G. Hughes stadium to the north end where it will later be attached to a proposed athletic support facility. Plans for the buildings will be drawn together to allow for easy merger.

“You have to have all the elevations, the floor levels and everything set so everything matches when you’re done,” sad Bob Harrington, director of the physical plant.

Earlier rough estimates put the cost of construction at more than the $2 million. Should the appropriated funds prove insufficient, the practice field and shelter will be scaled back.

“I think they’re looking for other donors out there too to help make that work,” Harrington said.

Proposals are due by Feb. 25, after which they will be reviewed by an administration committee.

“It’s been an opportunity, just trying to get everything nailed down,” Harrington said. “It’s a little bit of a challenge, but I think we’ve got a good RFP and I think we’ll get some good proposals back.”