University of Missouri

Mizzou’s football facility project receives another seven-figure boost

An artist’s rendering of the proposed football facility in the south end zone at Memorial Stadium.
An artist’s rendering of the proposed football facility in the south end zone at Memorial Stadium. Mizzou Athletics

Missouri has received a record 10th seven-figure donation during the last 11 months, breaking the school record for the most such donations in a fiscal year.

The Tigers’ athletic department announced an anonymous $1.2 million gift Wednesday for the construction of a new football facility at Memorial Stadium, which is expected to open for the 2019 season.

“We continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity of our donors who are stepping forward in record numbers with transformational gifts in support of the Tiger Scholarship Fund and the South End Zone Facility, both of which are critical to the long-term health of Mizzou Athletics,” Mizzou athletic director Jim Sterk said in a statement announcing the donation.

Missouri beat writer Tod Palmer sat down with first-year Tigers athletic director Jim Sterk to discuss his excitement about the momentum building within the department. He also provides updates on the stadium project and the status of the academic

MU, which had never received more than six seven-figure gifts in a year before 2016-17, has now secured more than $47.15 million in private funding for the roughly $100 million project.

“While we still have work to be done before taking the South End Zone Facility project to the Board of Curators later this summer, the private support we have received thus far has provided great momentum to help make this a facility a reality for our student-athletes, staff and fans,” Sterk said.

Sterk told The Star in an interview last month that he expected the project, which is being designed by Kansas City-based Populous, will receive approval this summer and the groundbreaking is expected in early 2018.

“We don’t have it done yet, and the Board of Curators would always prefer more (private money),” Sterk said.

While he believes his department’s done enough that the project won’t get derailed, any additional money that can be raised makes the final project — a proposed 107,000 square foot, four-story complex with an new facilities for the football team, at least 20 new luxury suites, a field-level club and general admission seating — more profitable and viable.

“It helps us operationally with our annual operations because the more we can fund raise, that’s more of the revenue from that South End Zone that can be dedicated to annual operations,” Sterk said.

He hopes to have $55 million-$60 million secured privately before taking it to the Board of Curators for final approval.

“That’s the goal, and we’ve got work to do there,” Sterk said.

The project is expected to take 14 months or less and will leave the south end zone, which will be demolished early next year, out of commission for the 2018 season.

Tod Palmer: 816-234-4389, @todpalmer

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