The public had its first chance to see MU’s renovated and expanded student-athlete center in an open house Friday afternoon.
People were streaming in throughout the afternoon at the Mizzou Student-Athlete Academic and Training Facility’s new entrance at the corner of Stadium Blvd. and Providence Road. The complex, which underwent $16 million in renovations in 16 months and has added about 33,000 square feet, has received improvement in all areas.
Directly inside the front entrance, 11,000 square feet of space has been refurbished to provide space for exercise machines available to all student-athletes. The strength and conditioning area also has a new 4,000 square-foot balcony with 10 televisions available for cardiovascular workouts.
Also new to the strength-and-conditioning area is a new “nutrition oasis,” said Josh Stoner, associate director of strength and conditioning for the MU athletics department.
“We’re now about to put fruit, juice, and all the materials for making healthy drinks out for the athletes,” Stoner said. “Everything they need to make shakes, including blenders, will be sitting there at the oasis. They can even have a Gatorade if they wish.”
A series of winding hallways lined with hand-drawn portraits of All-America athletes and listings of Tiger athletes in professional leagues leads from the strength-and-conditioning area to other parts of the facility. Included in the facility are locker rooms for football, soccer, softball, and baseball, a new sports medicine center, and a new dining hall.
Widespread improvements have also been made to the academic portion of the complex. Joe Scogin, director of academic services for the MU athletics department, said that between 15 and 20 new computer stations have been added for student-athletes. Expansion of the academic area has provided numerous advantages for them.
“Athletes used to have to walk through our quiet area to get to the computer lab,” Scogin said. “Now, with the expansion of the facility, tutoring rooms, computer labs, and a quiet study area are spread throughout the facility and provide a more relaxing environment.”
Another benefit of the new academic center is a sign-in scanning method that monitors the hours in which student-athletes use the area for their studies. Believed to be the first of its kind in the country, Scogin said the database will allow coaches to have access to student-athletes’ study hours.
“It’s now so convenient to have a one-stop shop to fulfill our athletes’ increasing time demands,” Scogin said. “They’ll be able to work out, eat, and study all in a single building. We believe this will increase their overall athletic and academic performance.”
Visitors to the new facility were impressed with the improvements.
“The entire place gives you a ‘wow’ factor,” said Charles Hunter, a 1978 MU graduate. “I’m sure it’s a great recruiting tool for the athletics department that also supports their community academically.”
Others touring the facility had visited it during construction and were pleased with the final product.
“It was fun to see the building process in progress,” Joan Hahn said. “My husband and I made two visits out here previously. It’s so nice to see that all the sports can use this facility. It’s really a better environment for them. At times, they must feel like they’re in heaven.”