June 17, 2009
Danny P Smith -
STARKVILLE -- There have been many changes to Mississippi State''s athletic landscape the past several months.
The biggest deals with technology thanks to the installation of jumbotrons at Mississippi State''s football, baseball, and soccer stadiums.
With those projects at or near completion, the focus at MSU has shifted to other needs.
The State College Board could approve a $3.2 million renovation to the W.O. Spencer Stadium and Carl Maddox Track facility this week. That funding would go to construct a new infield on the track surface with fencing around the facility and improvements to the concession area and grandstand.
This action comes on the heels of a strong season in which the MSU men tied for 17th in the nation and six athletes were named All-Americans.
MSU Athletic Director Greg Byrne said the upgrades to the track facility aren''t the only improvements on his agenda.
"If you look, every one of our sports has specific needs," Byrne said.
Byrne said the administration is "crossing the final hurdles" on a basketball practice facility and also is looking into a golf practice facility, a tennis indoor facility and locker room, a soccer locker room, and improvements to the football practice fields and at the softball stadium.
"Coach (Jay) Miller has done so well with the program getting us to postseason consistently," Byrne said. "If you travel around and look at other facilities we''re competing against, we need to improve that."
Byrne said it''s always important to seek ways to provide face-lifts to the venues that house the high-profile sports -- Davis-Wade Stadium (football), Humphrey Coliseum (basketball), and Dudy Noble Field (baseball).
"Dudy Noble is starting to show its age," Byrne said. "(Baseball radio broadcaster) Jim (Ellis), who travels to every SEC facility, says we''re probably in the bottom third in the league now as far as facilities go. That is not what we expect for our baseball program.
"Coach (John) Cohen and his staff are doing a fantastic job of getting baseball on the right path. Drainage is an issue, but it''s a lot more than that from restrooms, concessions, seating, pressbox, and skyboxes. They all have major issues."
As for the 30-year-old Humphrey Coliseum, Byrne said the playing area and seating remains in good shape. His concerns rest with the concourse, the concessions, and the restrooms.
"We need to update those and underneath the Hump, too," Byrne said.
There are also visions to upgrade the Newell-Grissom Building, the home of the volleyball team.
Byrne said the athletic department is working with the university to develop a facility master plan.
"That is close to being awarded and will be a national and local architect on that," Byrne said. "That will allow us to develop all of our plans from a facility standpoint on what our needs are."