The Board of Governors approved a new addition to Spratt Memorial Stadium: Construction for a new pavilion located on the west end of the stadium, across from the jumbotron, will start soon.
The construction of the new building is made possible with help from Steven Craig, Missouri Western’s biggest benefactor. Craig previously donated the jumbotron, the biggest among Division II schools, and the Craig School of Business and Craig Field are named after him.
“After adding in the scoreboard, there was just something missing on the west side of the stadium. And it’s a great, prominent spot for a flagpole,” Craig said.
The pavilion will cost around $500,000, Western president Robert Vartabedian said.
“He’s a perfectionist, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up being a bit more,” Vartabedian said about Craig.
Craig himself says he’s very comfortable with the current plans.
“You’ll be looking right at the jumbotron, I feel like we took a lot into account,” Craig said.
The university is set to lease the land to Craig during construction, who will take on all financial responsibility for construction and donate the pavilion back to Western once the project is finished.
Craig said he is pleased that a couple community members have come forward and offered their help with construction.
“They have essentially volunteered their services,” he said.
The complex will feature an upper and lower level and include an 80-foot flagpole, a barbecue area, two covered pavilions and a gathering area for groups and organizations.
“We’ll be using a lot of the same material we used for the scoreboard to match it,” Craig said.
Craig has no plans for future projects at the moment and said he appreciated the opportunity to do something for Western.
“I felt very passionately about improving campus,” he said.
Craig, who lives in California, is a St. Joseph native and still has friends and family here.
“I grew up in St. Joseph so I have a lot of memories of visiting campus as a kid,” he said.
But Western isn’t a unique project for Craig. A scoreboard he donated to his Alma Mater, the University of Southern California, just got finsihed, among other projects.
“I really enjoy these kinds of projects. More than anything it’s a hobby, something other to do than my regular job.”
At Wester, University attorney Stephen Briggs said the construction is set to begin soon.
“We’ll try to have a substantial amount of work done in the fall, and finish in spring the latest, if not before,” Briggs said during the meeting.
Briggs hopes for a quick construction for a good reason.
“We definitely want to have it done before the next Chiefs Training Camp,” he said, showing a hopeful attitude that the Chiefs will return to Missouri Western next year.