Courtesy of the Daily News Journal
Athletic Director Chris Massaro ('85) has a plan to take MTSU sports into his next stage of development.
Now he simply needs the resources and opportunities to execute it.
Massaro wants to do several constructions and renovations to MTSU athletic facilities to upgrade the department's entire presentation and potential.
Massaro calls it his "master plan."
"This is my vision, my hope, my master plan," Massaro said. "Right now there are basically no public funds attached to this, so it will be private monies. Every dollar we generate helps, every donor that joins the (Blue Raider Athletic Association) helps, every T-shirt we sell helps. But this is the master plan and how we can stair-step it."
At least two of the facility projects are underway in terms of either planning or fundraising. The club level of Floyd Stadium will be renovated and glassed in as early as after this football season. And an indoor tennis facility should come after that, though the exact location and fundraising details have yet to be ironed out.
Here is the list of hopeful MTSU athletic facility projects, in no particular order:
Building an indoor practice football facility is the key to unlocking many other facility projects. Such a building would likely include a new indoor track, so the current track in Murphy Center could be taken out. Then the empty space in Murphy Center possibly could be filled with suites, perhaps new bleachers and an overall renovation of the track level in the 38-year-old building. Other projects would then follow.
Massaro said an indoor facility would be used for several sports, not just football, and made available for physical education classes, when needed. It would likely not contain coaches offices or locker rooms.
"The biggest piece is the most expensive piece, which is the indoor multi-purpose facility," Massaro said. "It would truly help all sports. All of it would be effected, but in particular it would help any sport that uses fields (like) baseball, soccer, softball and football. You could put indoor hitting nets and things for softball, which usually works in the auxiliary gyms. And that would free up space for basketball in the gyms."
Massaro said some indoor facilities cost as much as $25 million, but early projections for MTSU's building are in the neighborhood of $7-10 million. Massaro said no fundraising has been done yet. Numerous locations have been considered, but nothing decided.
The Blue Raider football team currently practices outdoors on its two practice fields or in Floyd Stadium. Football coach Rick Stockstill said that causes problems.
"We could use an indoor facility year-round -- some because of winter, but mostly because of inclement weather," Stockstill said. "In 2010, we had enough lightning to make up for five years. We'd have to cancel or postpone practices. We'd have to wait to go out there at 10 o'clock at night, or we'd have to practice in gyms, which is basically like film session or a glorified walk-through. It would be nice to have a place where these players could get their work done at any time, no matter the weather, and they could do it all offseason."
Massaro said an indoor facility is also a valuable recruiting tool, but it could also unlock other facility projects.
"It's kind of a domino effect," Massaro said. "You could do some things without the indoor (facility), but the building is the big piece."
A new sound system will be installed in Murphy Center this winter during basketball season. The outdate waffle-style ceiling and interior lighting will also be upgraded soon.
Fans will be able to enjoy the club level of Floyd Stadium behind glass next season. Massaro said some design plans have been drawn up, and construction could begin in December.
"That (project) is the furthest along," Massaro said. "We'd be able to put a glass wall in the club level and fans still see the field. There's a market for people to buy seats.
We want it to be an annual revenue generator for us. In the stadium we have indoor suites and outdoor suites, which are more affordable. What I visualize is that there is a market for people to entertain customers (in the club level), whether it's a small law firm or small medical practice or whatever.
"You can manage two or four tickets rather than 22 in a suite, and it's easier to manage. You don't have to order the food and distribute 22 tickets."
Massaro said there are already numerous ways to fund the club level renovation, but he would like to solicit donations -- perhaps for naming rights -- in order to free up money for the other facility projects.
MTSU tennis has not enjoyed a home indoor site since its days at the Racquet Club of Murfreesboro years ago. It currently plays only outdoors at courts adjacent to the Murphy Center.
Massaro said "preliminary fundraising inquiries" have already been made, but the full cost or donations for the project have not been established. He said possible locations include Old Fort Park and numerous on-campus sites.
For the last few years, members of the Murfreesboro Tennis Association have tried to forge a deal between the city and MTSU to construct and run an indoor tennis facility at Old Fort. Massaro said that is a possibility.
"That project is probably further ahead of the others (except the Floyd Stadium club level renovation)," Massaro said. "We have talked with people who are interested in helping with a tennis facility. So it's now time to get a greater degree of interest from people to see where we are and how much money we can raise."
The tennis facility, as well as all buildings and renovations, will offer possible naming rights to donors.
Massaro admits that most of the aforementioned projects will lead the way, but he also wants renovations to the bottom level of Murphy Center.
The training room, located adjacent to the men's basketball locker room, would be moved to the weight room, a facility he would also like to enlarge. The open space left would be used for men's basketball offices and/or a locker room addition.
In the same hallway, the football coaches locker room could also be moved -- perhaps to a renovated weight room -- in order to expand the current football players locker room.
To read the original release, please click here.
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