Thursday, January 26, 2012

The (hopeful) future of Spartan Stadium

Below is a rendering of what Mark Hollis hopes Spartan Stadium will become. 

MSU has launched in hopes of raising money to fund these projects and other athletic department goals. Obviously the name is a little long, but the point is pretty obvious, as Mark Hollis lays out on the site.

"The 2012 installation of a sound system and video boards, and other planned enhancements, will not come without a cost. As you read through this brochure, you will discover our vision for Spartan Stadium in 2012 as well as the necessary measures MSU Athletics will need to take to invest valuable resources into the Spartan football program.

Your support is vital to our success. Through your continued purchase of football season tickets and private contributions, you are making an investment in the future success of the Spartan football program. Our goals are shared. Our mission the same. Please join me as “we gather and engage our community to teach, support, and celebrate our student-athletes in their quest for excellence."

The new sound system and video boards will be voted on by the MSU Board of Trustees tomorrow, and should be able to fund themselves though sponsorships. But MSU clearly needs to up its fundraising efforts if it wants to compete in the arms race that is college football. That includes season-ticket price increases

(There's a video on the site that you can view here)

Given the financial problem many public colleges are having, taxpayers won't be paying for the north end zone facility and plaza upgrade to Spartan Stadium above, which would cost $10 million. That's going to have to come from private donations, as the website details:

"Compared with peer institutions, game-day accommodations at Spartan Stadium are not adequate to sustain the unmatched success of the Spartan football program under head coach Mark Dantonio. In order to maintain the level of achievement garnered, MSU Athletics must continue to invest valuable resources into facility upgrades and the student-athlete experience. MSU Athletics is in the development phase (pending Board approval and proper funding) of an addition to the north end of Spartan Stadium aimed at attracting talented student-athletes and increasing the national exposure of all 25 varsity sports. The estimated $10 million North End Zone Facility & Plaza is a necessary enhancement to modernize Spartan Stadium.

The construction of a North End Zone Facility will benefit not only the Spartan football program through locker room renovations, but will enhance the coverage of MSU Athletics with the addition of media rooms for pre-and-post game press conferences. Plans also include a new recruiting area to be shared by all MSU Athletic varsity sports to attract the most talented athletes.

In order to move forward with the North End Facility enhancement, MSU Athletics must draw on the collective support of loyal, passionate, and philanthropic Spartan fans to fund this project solely on private contributions. During the “silent campaign”, MSU Athletics seeks leadership gifts to put us in a stronger position to turn our vision into reality. If interested, please contact the Spartan Fund for more information at (517) 432-4610."

MSU often was referred to as a sleeping giant in the college football world. With one of the largest alumni bases, the support should be there. MSU fields 25 varsity teams, while schools like Alabama and LSU only have 16 and 17, respectively. Only football and men's basketball make money in MSU's athletic department, which is one of the few that is self-sufficient. As I said in an earlier post, the amount of teams a school fields can be as impressive as the success of those teams, as schools like Maryland are planning to cut sports.

The football facilities have been improving, and with consistent success finally found on the field, Hollis wants to take MSU to that next level. But it's only going to come if people are willing to open up their pockets.


  1. That's a very weird conceptual drawing. Does the future of MSU also include knocking down the engineering building and UPLA to get a better view of the farms to the south? Even with the new addition theoretically added in, Wells Hall next to the stadium also looks bizarre and kind of like Erickson. For what it's worth, the green on the south side of the stadium does look like where the parking lots are now -- I'll be glad to see those gone. I've always been upset that the "front" of the building (well, what you see from Shaw, anyway) features massive parking lots.

    I know it's been a while since I've been on campus, but that entire drawing feels bizarre. I wonder who did it.

  2. This view is from the North side of the stadium looking South. The Engineering building is too the far left. The "green grass" you see on the far side (south side) is there today - practice fields - and across Shaw Lane from the Stadium, which you don't really see well in the drawing. If you haven't been there in a few years the are putting an addition on Wells Hall bringing it closer to the Stadium, so that might be what you see. I do agree with you though, that a promanade, grass, trees, etc. would be better on the South side than the parking lot, but I suspect that the North side is considered to be the main entrance side so not sure we'll see that especially with the $$$$ people pay to park there.

  3. Its colder than my ex-wife's heart in E Lansing. When are they going to start talking retrofitting the stadium with a dome? The BC Place did it for only $500 million :)

    1. Yes, and Lousiana is suffocating from late April till November. Life's tough, so it's best to buy a good jacket up north or when skiing in Park City, and a swim suit when vacationing in Puerto Vallarta in July, right? In November East Lansing is a cold-hands, warm-heart kind of place -- most insiders know this as of their first day on campus, and add a layer.

  4. What's missing here are permanent lights, which is something MSU seriously needs to put in.

  5. As with the 2005 addition to the stadium, this also would integrate into a broad-renovation master plan.

    From OSU and PSU to Minnesota, stadiums are build and expanded by phases. This is very evident at PSU whose modular additions are a little awkward/inelegant. The state of the art has advanced a lot since the 90s and MSU is building now in a cautious "post-modern" architectural style (meaning not just square slabs as in the 70s).

    This addition would only be part of a much larger big picture expansion probably headed toward 100,000 seats as a steady presence in the top 25 nationally would support financially. BTN reveneues are phenominal for all Big Ten schools and the funds has growing on many fronts for MSU. And, under these conditions donors will come back strong, even if slower in a sluggish economy.