Improving Home Field Advantage

By Michael Penn

May 5, 2014

Improvements to Spratt Stadium have been deemed long overdue by Missouri Western's athletic department, and soon football fans and players will see a drastic change to football home field. Western athletic's department has begun planning for major renovations to Spratt Stadium. These renovations will help the athletic department  increase revenue, which will allow them to keep other athletic facilities, like the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex, maintained, as well as increase the athletic operating budget, according to Director of Athletics Kurt McGuffin. “The athletic department raises 95 percent of our revenue externally,” McGuffin said. “The main idea of renovating the stadium is to produce more revenue to maintain the GISC for our athletes, our students and the community.” Possibly the most exciting renovation to Spratt Stadium will be the scoreboard. The scoreboard will be placed in the North west end zone, and it will stand at a massive 35 feet tall and 65 feet wide. “The video portion of the scoreboard, which is in the plans right now, is the same size as, or a little bigger than, the scoreboard that the University of Missouri has,” Lau said. To accommodate the scoreboard, a video room will be added to the stadium. This room will be used to control the scoreboard and run the replays during the games. Not only will the football field be renovated, but the concession and bathroom area of the stadium will also see improvements. Although these renovations are in the planning stages at the moment, McGuffin and, Assistant Director of Athletics for Development Dave Lau agree that replacing the eight- year-old turf will be the first renovation made to the stadium. “The turf will be replaced and moved closer to the stands to tighten the field and help the fans feel closer to the action,” Lau said. Replacing the turf is not just for looks, it is a revenue generator as well. “The athletic department makes $85, 000 to $90,000 thousand dollars a year from renting out our facilities to the community, and replacing the turf will help encourage them to continue to use our facilities.” McGuffin said. “Lines at the concession stands and bathrooms are something we would like to try to avoid, so we will be making improvements to those areas so that using the restroom or concession stand will be more convenient for the fans,” McGuffin said. These renovations are not only to maintain and update Spratt Stadium, but are being made to enhance the fan’s game experience. “These improvements will help the fans feel like they are more involved in the game and keep them engaged,” Lau said. “They will also help encourage the students to be excited and attend the games.” The Spratt Stadium renovations do not come without a hefty price tag. Western’s athletic department is planning to spend anywhere between $7.5 and $12 million on the project. Although this is a large amount of money, the athletic department will have help from private donors and the centennial capital campaign. “We do not want to just throw something together, we want to plan this and do it right.” Lau said. The renovation plans are already exciting football players, including lineman Cal Griencewic. “The team as a whole will be really excited to run on the field and see all of the improvements,” Griencewic said. “It shows us that they really care about the playing environment we are in.” At the moment, the renovations to Spratt Stadium are planned to begin after the last home game of the 2014 season and to be finished in time for the beginning of the 2015 season.