COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) Missouri athletic officials announce updated plans Friday for a two-year, $100 million renovation project of Memorial Stadium's south end zone facilities.
''The kids that we are recruiting are probably going to go take a visit at another conference school, and you never want to be in a position where you don't have an opportunity to recruit a kid because of something like a facility,'' athletic director Jim Sterk Odom said. ''Obviously, this is going to give our student athletes the best chance to be successful.''
Missouri has struggled the past two seasons, winning just two Southeastern Conference games after winning back-to-back division championships in 2013 and 2014. In spite of this, Sterk is optimistic about fundraising efforts.
''The support we've had so far has been outstanding,'' Sterk said. ''It's very encouraging, but we are still working hard. We have had some promising conversations with potential contributors, and we hope to continue making those exciting gift announcements going forward.''
In recent months, Missouri has received six private donations in the seven-figure range, three of which came anonymously.
Initial plans allocated $75 million to restore and update the existing structure in the south end zone. However, Sterk indicated Friday that the project estimate is now nearing the $100 million mark, and that architectural consultants have advised the department to demolish the current structure to make way for a new one.
Sterk said that donors close to the project were also largely in favor of an entirely new facility.
Football coach Barry Odom stressed the significance of such a project in regards to the program's level of commitment to its student athletes.
''It's exciting for them to see,'' Odom said. ''They know the product they're going to get with the coaching side of it, with the academic side of it, and now, enhancing and always knowing that we're pushing to give them the best, that's a huge advantage for our program.''
Among the updates discussed were additional premium seating, team offices, equipment and training facilities, and multiple private club areas for designated ticket holders.
Sterk said finalized budget plans will be presented to the school's Board of Curators in February for final approval.
Many details are still unclear, including the architect and the project manager, maximum seating capacity after completion, and a firm deadline for completion, though Sterk said a tentative goal is prior to the start of the 2019 season.
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