Board of Governors Approves Plan for Plaster Sports Complex Lighting

Contact: Ken McClure (417) 836-8505 or Kyle Moats (417) 836-5244.  

SPRINGFIELD - From early morning ROTC fitness training, to late-night intramurals, to band festivals, and night practices and contests for intercollegiate athletic teams, Missouri State University events will once again be "under the lights" again at Plaster Sports Complex beginning this fall.

The new lights will be installed this summer at the 16,300-seat Plaster Sports Complex.

The plan was approved today (Friday, May 28) during a meeting of the Missouri State University Board of Governors Executive Committee.  The new lights will benefit Missouri State academic, recreation and intercollegiate athletics events, as well as a variety of community events, that occur during evening hours at Plaster Sports Complex.

"This is great news for the Missouri State community," said Dr. Earle Doman, Missouri State Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. "The Plaster Sports Complex is a multipurpose facility that plays host to a number of campus activities, including ROTC, intramurals, band events, physical education classes, intercollegiate athletics, high school events, and many, many more. Being able to maximize the facility's functionality by adding lights, will serve the University and the region well."

The contract for the lights was awarded to All Purpose Erectors, Inc., the low bidder among the three companies that submitted bids.  The cost of the project construction is $377,786.  The total project budget approved is $450,000, which will be funded initially by the University Bookstore auxiliary fund and then repaid by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics over three years primarily from increased revenue from football "guaranteed games" with NCAA BCS (Bowl Championship School) teams.  The "internal loan" process has been used by the University various times in the past, according to University officials.  A signed memo commemorates the agreement.

Four new 100-foot light poles will be installed in locations near where the existing poles were removed. Musco Lighting, a recognized leader in sports lighting, is the manufacturer of the lighting system to be used on this project and the lights mounted to each pole. Included in the bid is a 25-year manufacturer's warranty on the new installation. This warranty is a cost effective way to manage the maintenance costs. The agreement also includes a surge suppressant system to protect the electrical systems from lighting damage at the Plaster Sports Complex.

The plan was necessitated when one of the four light poles at the facility, located at the northwest corner, fell unexpectedly on July 14, 2009.  No one was injured. Following a review by a structural engineering firm, the University decided to remove the remaining three poles as a safety precaution. Plans to replace the lights during the 2009-10 academic year were postponed on October 7 due to budgetary concerns.

"This is certainly a win-win situation for everyone involved," said MSU Director of Athletics Kyle Moats. "The University will regain full use of the stadium for evening events, beginning this fall with football, men's and women's soccer, and field hockey.  Replacing the lighting will ensure that the largest facility in southern Missouri is available for Missouri State and community events.  That's important."

Originally constructed in 1941, Plaster Sports Complex serves as the home facility for Missouri State's football, men's soccer, women's soccer, field hockey, and track and field teams. Originally named SMS Stadium (1941-70), the facility was renamed Briggs Stadium in 1970 to honor former head coach and athletics director Arthur Briggs. In the midst of a four-phase expansion that saw the stadium receive its first artificial turf (1987), an all-weather track (1988), and a seating capacity upgrade and upper-deck expansion (1990), the facility was renamed the Robert W. Plaster Sports Complex in 1991.