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MSU Students React to New Athletics, Rec Facilities

Nearly 22 million dollars’ worth of renovations on Missouri State University’s athletics and recreational facilities will begin this month.
MSU Construction Sign
MSU Construction Sign / Photo Credit Shannon Bowers

In a recent university election, MSU Students passed the new Bear Experience and Recreation fee, also known as the B.E.A.R. fee.

Students will be charged an additional 50 dollars per semester for the renovations. This fee will begin after the first project is finished in fall of 2014.

Annually, this revenue will generate $1.6 million dollars. Some students,like Bob Eberling and Alex Indek, don’t mind the fee and are excited for construction to start.

“And I think the fields will help us recruit, the exterior will help the interior. I think it is going to be a great thing for the university” said Eberling.  

“I think it’s pretty good. It is not that much money for each individual student but it probably adds up pretty quickly, so I’d say it’s a good thing,” said Indek

However, others don't agree, like student Misty Stickland.

“I don’t want to be charged for it. I don’t use it. Even though I have to pay the fee for what’s here anyway, I just don’t need the extra fee. It is expensive enough as it is,” said Strickland

The fee passed with 80% of the university vote. But some students I spoke with felt they were not properly informed about the B.E.A.R. fee. Student Eric Green is one of them.

“Well, from what I understood, they made all the athletes vote but they didn’t really advertise the voting to the students. I didn’t know about it until after the fact. Before we spend more money on athletics facilities, we should improve our athletics teams,” said Green.

And student Calb Doyle feels these changes will turn MSU into a more competitive school.

“A lot of critics are saying the focus on athletics is too heavy but what you have to understand is when you increase the quality of the athletic experience and the recreational experience and all those facilities, than enrollment goes up, revenue goes up, and the quality of the experience goes up,” said Doyle.

However, student Kate Knapp has a different opinion about what students should set their focus on.

“I think it takes a lot of funding and attention away from academic needs. My degree is heavy in sciences. I would rather see better scopes in the 'chem' lab or have kids take field trips that pertain to their class rather than build new fields that may not see that much use,” said Knapp.

The first renovation project will be the student section on the east side of Plaster Sports Complex. Crews will replace the existing seats, add a raised patio in the grandstand, new concessions, restrooms and ticket windows.

The MSU Board of Governors awarded the construction contract to DeWitt and Associates, Inc., to begin the work.

For KSMU News, I’m Shannon Bowers.