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By MICHAEL WARDLAW
The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees approved Mississippi State Universityâ€™s request to proceed with expansion plans to Davis Wade Stadium Thursday.
The approved project carries an $80 million price tag and will include an addition to the north end zone as well as improvements to the west concourse of DWS. The north end zone addition would consist of bowling in the end and increasing capacity by roughly 6,000. The area would also include box seating and suites.
State fans will also find a new concourse with fan amenities and additional food service support for the stadium complex.Â Structural provisions to allow for a future upper deck will also be included. Improvements to the west concourse will consist of the addition to the architectural faĂ§ade, new service and maintenance level, new vertical circulation and renovated restroom and concession facilities.
MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin said the expansion project is expected to break ground following the conclusion of the 2012 regular football season.
â€śWe are moving forward and hopefully we can put it out for bid this summer, get it rewarded and get going,â€ť Stricklin said.Â â€śWhen we start the stadium expansion later this year, thatâ€™s just another sign that this is something we care deeply about. Iâ€™ve said it before, facilities say a lot about you.â€ť
He said plans for the expansion are just one of many recent projects designed to enrich the MSU student experience.
â€śIt sends a message that this is important,â€ť Stricklin said. â€śWhen you pull up to Dudy Noble it sends a message that baseball is important.Â When you pull up to the Mize Pavilion it says that basketball is important to Mississippi State.Â The Seal Complex is going to be another one of those signals that this is important to Mississippi State.â€ť
The Seal Complex is the latest addition in a long line of campus enhancements that include the Palmeiro Center, the Templeton Academic Center, the Holiman Center and the Mize Pavilion just to name a few.Â The new football-only facility, the Seal Complex, will be a state-of-the-art facility which will house everything a college football program would desire in order to be competitive in the most demanding league in college football.
â€śThings are going great,â€ť Stricklin said. â€śI had a chance to walk in it the other day and it is a massive facility. You just have no idea even driving by it how much space is in there. They are working seven days a week and really making good progress. We are expecting to get in around the first of the year, coming back from that bowl game and moving in.â€ť
As recently as this week the impact of the Mize Pavilion was recognized during the hire of new womenâ€™s basketball head coach Vic Schaefer.
â€śThey canâ€™t go but to a handful of other places and receive what they are going to receive here at Mississippi State University.Â Thatâ€™s real important,â€ť Schaefer said during his opening press conference. â€śIn todayâ€™s world, theyâ€™ve got to see it.Â If they canâ€™t see it, it is hard to sell it. I think thatâ€™s what this University and the facilities do for us. Iâ€™m excited to have the opportunity to show it to a lot of great players.â€ť
Schaefer later said how Mississippi State facilities increases the quality of the experience received by all students and â€śthatâ€™s what coaching is about, creating great experiences.â€ť