Students cheered Park Hill senior Austin Baska’s signing with Missouri Western in an assembly on National Signing Day.
Baska’s decision to attend Western means he will soon be sharing facilities with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs’ decision to move their pre-season training camp to Missouri Western in 2010 is already serving as a drawing card for Western.
Measuring the exact impact of having a NFL training camp on campus is hard to do. With admission numbers already on the rise and other new facilities and programs underway, differentiating reasons for growth in admissions requires a large scope approach. One thing is certain. Western can expect to grow, and this growth could potentially require other changes at Western.
“Recreation facilities impress students,” Williams said. “The Max Experience was passed based on the belief that facilities and positive athletic experiences will draw more students to campus.”
All students currently pay Max Experience fees to help ensure these positive experiences. Plans for the NFL facilities are above and beyond the improvements that the Max Experience funds alone would have made possible. Costs for the new facilities are estimated at $13.7 million with only $1.2 million coming from Max Experience funding.
“It is a fact, that Missouri Western will be in more papers, and more media outlets, and more websites because of the Chiefs, than without the Chiefs,” Missouri Western Athletic Director Dave Williams said.
This increase of media is just one of the ways that Western will be positively affected by the NFL camp and facilities.
“If Missouri Western has facilities to entertain the Chiefs, it certainly can entertain other athletes,” College and Career Advisor at Central High School Alicia Saunders said. “Students will find it more attractive.”
Much like the change from a state school to a university, Saunders feels that having these new facilities will increase the number of high school students considering Western. Imagine having your college visit day while the Chiefs are on campus. This could certainly make for a memorable visit.
“We’ve moved away from calling this a Chiefs facility on purpose. This is Missouri Western’s facility that the Chiefs will use three weeks a year…and they are guests when they are here. It’s not just an athletic facility, or a Chiefs facility, it’s a student facility,” Williams said. Students will be able to enjoy having an indoor area for intramural sports and other activities.
When students are feeling cooped up in the dorms during winter months they will have an indoor area to enjoy. He explained that other universities limit the use indoor practice fields to athletic programs.
“You get to practice on the same field and the big guys, your idols,” Fort Osage senior Dalton Krysa said in an interview with the Kansas City Star after signing his letter of intent to play football at Western. Krysa’s decision to play at Western next season shows how the preseason camp and new facilities may be helpful in recruiting in the future.
“Those 23 days that they are here on campus we and the Western Institute will be working together to make sure people are greeted as they come in,” Director of Admissions Howard McCauley said. “It’s an opportunity to get information into people’s hand.” McCauley explained that Western will have many new faces at Western during the Chiefs stay on campus. He assured that Western will not miss chance to talk to any perspective students.
Western’s enrollment numbers have seen steady growth in past years. Growth expected in upcoming years will affect a number of things. Parking, class size, and dorm availability will certainly be affected. Williams assured that administration is aware of the potential problems of growth, and is discussing long term needs.