New Missouri softball stadium plans on hold until location is set

Saturday, May 25, 2013 | 5:59 p.m. CDT; updated 7:34 p.m. CDT, Saturday, May 25, 2013

COLUMBIA — When the MU Athletic Department first came to the idea of updating the softball field, it had hoped that construction would have started by now and be completed by the 2014 season.

But now that it is discussing the concept of building a new stadium, rather than renovating the current one, University Field, the deadline has changed. 

Executive Associate Athletic Director Bryan Maggard said that construction would take about a year once it began. But three steps remain before possibly breaking ground.

"We need to firm up a site, we then need to get approval from the Board of Curators and then work out the funding of it," Maggard said.

Maggard, head softball coach Ehren Earleywine, Executive Associate Athletic Director Tim Hickman and Athletic Director Mike Alden are in talks to determine a location for a possible new stadium.

Maggard said they originally planned to just renovate University Field, and set aside about $4.5 million, but "given the success of the program, the notoriety of the program, the value of the sport in the SEC," a new stadium might be a better plan. A new facility could cost around $14 million to 17 million.

The Missouri softball team has gone to six straight NCAA Super Regionals and has three Women's College World Series appearances in the past five years. The Tigers just completed their first season in the SEC, going 15-8 in conference play.

The team competed in the school's first SEC Championship game, but lost to Florida. Missouri's season ended Friday when it was eliminated by Washington in the Super Regionals.

Maggard said he hopes to have a completed stadium – whether it be a new one, or a renovated University Field – by 2015 when Missouri is set to host the Southeastern Conference Softball Tournament.

"It will take some time, absolutely, but we know we need to get started on something rather quickly," Maggard said.

Supervising editor is Grant Hodder.

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