A double feature of the Bill Pollock Show for you on a Friday as I share my conversation with Mizzou AD Jim Sterk, following the news that the MU Board of Curators approved plans and funding for the remodeling and construction of the south end zone at Memorial Stadium.  Below is the athletic department’s official press release, but hear from Jim himself by clicking on the podcast.

The University of Missouri Board of Curators voted Friday morning to unanimously approve construction of Mizzou Athletics’ $98 million south end zone facility at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium. This project will provide state-of-the-art training facilities for Mizzou Football, create additional premium seating opportunities and game-day enhancements for all Tiger fans to enjoy, and bring new jobs to Columbia.

“This project would not be possible without the generosity of our donors, and we are very grateful for their support of Mizzou,” MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said. “As an SEC institution, this project will allow us to remain competitive in the top athletic conference in the country. Athletics continues to be one avenue that brings our campus together and to inform people across the nation about the quality of education and the opportunities that are available to students who choose to make MU their academic home.”

The Board of Curators’ total approved project budget is $98 million; to consist of campus infrastructure funds totaling $800,000, long-term debt financing not to exceed $57 million and private gifts covering the remainder of the project costs.

“This is a great day for Mizzou Athletics, and in particular Tiger Football, and we are thankful that our vision for this state-of-the-art building has been embraced by our donors who have come alongside us to help make this project a reality, as well as the Board of Curators, President Choi, Chancellor Cartwright and senior campus leaders,” said University of Missouri Director of Athletics Jim Sterk. “Providing outstanding facilities is paramount to a championship student-athlete experience in today’s environment, and this facility will help ensure the long-term academic and on-field success of Mizzou Football.

“Our goal is to build one of college football’s premier facilities for our student-athletes and coaches to utilize on a daily basis, and we are confident that we can achieve that within the project’s budget and scope,” he added. “When this facility is completed, not only will it be an incredible asset in recruiting, but our expectations are that it will enhance the game-day environment for our fans at Memorial Stadium, too.”

Since the athletics department received its first pledge toward the new facility last September, the generosity of 42 individuals, coupled with Sterk’s visionary leadership, has generated more than $50 million in pledges over the last 11 months to help this game-changing project come to fruition. Construction of the nearly 200,000-square foot facility, which includes more than 150,000 square feet of enclosed space, is expected to start in early 2018 with the demolition of the stadium’s south end zone grandstands, and be completed ahead of the 2019 campaign.

Memorial Stadium’s capacity, currently listed at 71,168, will be around 65,000 when the largest capital project in Mizzou Athletics history is complete, according to school officials.

The Tigers’ new football operations area will include team and staff locker rooms, an enhanced sports medicine facility featuring a Hydrotherapy area with recovery pools, Hyroworx and lap pools, a weight room, nutrition oasis and equipment room, as well as team and position meeting rooms, and coaches offices. A grand lobby entrance at field level showcasing Mizzou’s proud football tradition will greet visitors, and a recruiting lounge will allow the Tigers’ staff to host recruits.

“I deeply appreciate each of the donors who have stepped forward to make this happen for Mizzou Football and the Board of Curators’ approval of this facility,” said second-year Mizzou head football coach Barry Odom. “I believe that this facility will have a lasting impact on our football program for the next 40 years, if not longer; it’s that impactful.

“Missouri is making a bold statement with today’s announcement and I am confident that it not only will pay big dividends in recruiting, but it will help improve our game-day atmosphere throughout the stadium,” he added. “I can’t wait to get the shovels in the ground and get going. I am thankful to lead the Mizzou Football program and represent our University and State, and am pleased we have undertaken a project of this stature.”

When the new south end zone comes on-line at Faurot Field in 2019, it will feature 16 suites, a 750-person field-level club similar to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, a 1,254-seat indoor club area with food service and restrooms and general seating for 1,324 approximately fans. A new concourse will not only link the stadium’s East and West stadium areas, but provide new restrooms and concessions for all fans to enjoy. A full kitchen will also be constructed in the facility to service the new premium areas, and new video boards will further enhance the Mizzou game-day experience.

Other features of the new facility include a roof-top video deck and two-bay loading dock. A new road connecting the west side to the south will also be built.

Mizzou fans can log on to mizzousouthend.zone for more information about premium seating opportunities and to follow the project’s progress over the next two years.

The football program, which has been housed at the Missouri Athletics Training Center (MATC) since the 1980s and out-grown that building, will move its entire operation to the south end zone facility, which in turn allows for that space to be repurposed to better serve the needs of all Mizzou student-athletes and athletics staff. In addition to currently housing Mizzou’s entire football operation, the MATC is also home to the department’s student-athlete academic support unit, primary weight room and dining facility, as well as offices and locker rooms for the Tigers’ highly-successful women’s soccer, softball and track & field programs.

“Once football moves into the south end zone facility, there will be an opportunity to repurpose some of that space to enhance our academic services unit to benefit all Mizzou student-athletes; so the totality of this project will have a positive impact on all of our programs down the road,” Sterk said.

Over the nearly two-year construction process, the project itself, when combined with Mizzou Athletics’ annual economic influence, could provide as much as $700 million in regional economic impact. According to CS&L (Convention, Sports and Leisure, a consultant firm working with Mizzou Athletics), as many as 1,200 new jobs will be created because of the project, which could result in as much as $44 million in new salaries to the Mid-Missouri economy.

The architect for the project is Kansas City, Mo.-based Populous, which has three of the nation’s newest college football stadiums, as well as SunTrust Park, the new home of the Atlanta Braves, and Yankee Stadium, in its world-renowned design portfolio. The M.A. Mortenson Company, headquartered in Minneapolis, will serve as the project’s construction manager. The construction of the Braves’ SunTrust Park, as well as the Golden State Warriors new arena, Chase Center, and the University of Minnesota’s new athlete’s village, are just some of Mortenson’s nationally-recognized work.