The landscape of the Missouri State University campus in Springfield has changed dramatically since the spring with several new recreation and athletics facilities nearing completion over the summer months.
A series of dedications and open house events will correlate with the year’s first events at the facilities, including an MSU Athletics open house event on Sunday, Aug. 24 from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The event will feature free, guided tours of the renovated Robert W. Plaster Stadium, Jim D. Morris Basketball Complex, Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Academic Achievement Center, Betty and Bobby Allison North Stadium, and Betty and Bobby Allison South Stadium. Transportation shuttles between the various venues will be in operation during the tours.
In addition, the following dedication events have been planned for Aug. 24 – Sept. 11 on the MSU campus to formally open each facility:
Betty and Bobby Allison South (Soccer and Track) Stadium Dedication
- Sunday, Aug. 24
- Tailgating for all attendees starts at 6 p.m. with free hot dogs, chips, Hiland Dairy ice cream and Coke products to the first 1,000 spectators, followed by a 6:45 p.m. dedication ceremony.
- MSU men’s soccer takes on Missouri Valley College in an exhibition match at 7 p.m.
- The first 500 fans will receive a commemorative miniature soccer ball.
- Come early and watch the MSU women’s soccer team play Utah State at 1 p.m.
Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Academic Achievement Center Dedication
- Friday, Sept. 5
- The renovated academic achievement facility located in Forsythe Athletics Center will be officially unveiled at 3:30 p.m., with student-athletes leading tours prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m.
- A dinner honoring Dr. Wynn will take place at 5 p.m., in the Turner Family Practice Facility in Hammons Student Center. Dinner tickets ($25) may be purchased by calling (417) 836-4143.
- The volleyball Bears will take on Western Kentucky at 7 p.m., in the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational. Match festivities will include a jersey retirement ceremony for former head coach Linda Dollar.
Betty and Bobby Allison North (Field Hockey and Lacrosse) Stadium Dedication
- Sunday, Sept. 7
- The official facility dedication will take place at halftime of the 2 p.m. field hockey match between Missouri State and Saint Louis University.
- The first 250 guests will receive a commemorative rally towel.
- After the halftime dedication, free Coke products and Hiland Dairy ice cream will be available for all attendees as well as a raffle for door prizes.
Betty and Bobby Allison Sand Volleyball Facility Dedication
- Tuesday, Sept. 9
- Students are invited to attend the 7:30 p.m. dedication for a fun, luau-themed dedication of the new sand volleyball venue, just west of Hammons Student Center on Bear Blvd.
- Free refreshments and raffle opportunities will be available for all students who attend.
Robert W. Plaster Stadium Dedication and Pep Rally
- Thursday, Sept. 11
- The new student section on the east side of the stadium will be dedicated in conjunction with the pep rally, starting at 8 p.m.
- After the pep rally, students will get a chance to tour the facility, experience the new Bear Walk, roam the new turf and get an overview of the new BearFest Village area.
- Free t-shirts and pizza will provided for students who attend the pep rally.
- The football Bears take on North Dakota on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. with the NEW BearFest Village opening at 3 p.m. The Bill O’Neill Way dedication will also take place on opening night.
Growth possible through student support, generous gifts
The new venues for sand volleyball, soccer, track, field hockey and lacrosse, as well as the renovations at the football stadium were made possible by the MSU student body and its Bear Experience and Recreation (B.E.A.R.) Fee initiative in 2013. With an approval rate of more than 75 percent, the students passed a student fee of $50 per semester to help provide new and renovated athletic and recreational facilities on the Springfield campus.
The fee will generate approximately $1.6 million annually. Of that total, $200,000 annually will be used to enhance the student experience at athletic events through the creation of a student experience fund. The remaining $1.4 million will make the annual payments on approximately $20 million in bonds, which allowed for the construction of the four projects.
A generous gift from Bobby Allison has also made the new Allison North and Allison South stadiums, as well as the sand volleyball facility, possible.
The Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Academic Achievement Center was funded through private donations, including a lead gift by Dr. Wynn.
A native of Hartville, Mo., and 1953 MSU graduate, Wynn organized MSU women’s athletics competitions in 1958 with the creation of volleyball and tennis teams. She retired in 1998 after 41 years engineering women’s athletics programs on the Springfield campus. She was named the first director of women’s athletics in 1975 and concluded her career as senior associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator.