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June 26, 2012

Major donation kickstarts facility improvements



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The University of Missouri announced on Tuesday a gift of $30 million from the Kansas City Sports Trust. The gift will help with planned renovations across the campus centered around the football, baseball, golf, tennis and softball programs.

"When we joined the SEC, we knew we were going to have to step up to a new level," Chancellor Brady Deaton said on Tuesday.

The gift, combined with $72 million in bonds from the University which was approved on Tuesday afternoon, signify that commitment.

Mike Alden said that the $102 million project is the first phase in more than $200 million of improvements to Missouri's athletic facilities. This phase includes adding approximately 6,000 seats to Memorial Stadium's current 71,004 seat capacity. Kentucky, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt are the only SEC schools with stadiums currently smaller than Mizzou. Alden said this phase of the project will bring the capacity at Faurot Field (including the hill, which will retain the same number of seats as in the past) "a little north of 75,000" with plans to move past 80,000 in the future. Alden did not put a timetable on the next phase of expansion, but said he hoped it would be in the next few years.

The seating expansion is estimated to cost just more than $46 million. The remainder of the funds are earmarked for renovations of the west side of Memorial Stadium ($9.75 million), expanding the north concourses, structural repairs and improvements to Memorial Stadium, locker room, coaches' offices and seating improvements to Taylor Stadium (baseball), an indoor facility along with seating and facility improvements to University Field (softball) and an upgrade to Mizzou's tennis facility.

The announcement on Tuesday afternoon marked the biggest single gift to Mizzou athletics in history. Alden said it was the second largest single gift to the University in any field.

Mizzou officials consistently referenced the move to the SEC and fan momentum as a major factor in all of the day's events.

"This will pay for itself with more ticket sales and fan excitement," said Curator David Bradley. "We have heard all about the excitement of moving to the SEC."

Alden said season ticket sales are up approximately 18% over the same time last year and that Mizzou has goals of selling 45 to 46,000 season tickets. He said the renewal rate from last year's season ticket holders is at approximately 95 percent.

Missouri will officially become a member of the Southeastern Conference this Sunday, July 1st.

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