Gregg-Mitchell Field getting more than facelift
What began as a way to keep water run-off from spilling across Morrow Street became a means of beautifying 80-year-old Gregg-Mitchell Field.
And the best thing about the South Campus Entrance Project is that it isn't expected to take a dime out of Missouri Valley College's treasury.
The $150,000 renovation program is underwritten by gifts from the Mitchell Family, the heirs of one of the stadium's original benefactors, and a fundraiser by the MVC Hall of Fame.
Originally, the idea was to merely fix a drainage problem.
"That's how the project started," noted Valley Athletic Director Tom Fifer. "Once we knew we had to tear up the area for the drainage, we could go ahead and do the whole thing."
The genesis for the improvements may have been functional, but the final product will be notable for its aesthetics.
"For so many years, it's been an eyesore," Fifer admitted. "We wanted to match the north end to the campus."
Among the upgrades will be a wider, formal gateway from Morrow Street and a lower grade from there to the field -- with only two sets of two steps each instead of the steep climb to the players' and officials' entrance.
The vacant space underneath the grandstand will be screened off from the walkway behind the stadium, while plazas will be constructed on each end.
On the south side will be the Viking Plaza, which include a donor wall and sitting area. On the north end, between the bleachers and concession stand, will be handicapped seating and a picnic area. Handicapped accessibility to the facility will also be enhanced, along with an additional ticket gate for fans.
"It makes it so much more open," Fifer said. "With tailgating, a lot of people can enter from this end without having to walk all the way around the field."
Landscaping around the stadium will also make the environs more attractive. The gravel track, which hasn't been used for competition in many years, will set approximately 20 feet closer to the field on both ends and will be mostly for walking.
The renovations are expected to be completed for the Vikings home opener, Sept. 5 against Baker. Separate access to the stadium will be designated for home and visiting teams, Valley's being called the "Walk of Champions."
Gregg-Mitchell Field, built in 1928, underwent some refurbishing last year with new seating and an expanded press box.
While the new look may have any direct effect on the Vikings' fortunes on the gridiron, one cannot underestimate the effect of first impressions on prospective student-athletes.
"We wanted to make it so that when the recruits come by from any sport, we wanted the (south) entrance to be competitive with the north," which is notable for its pillars, Fifer said. "It does give us a more appealing entrance."
Gregg-Mitchell Athletic Field was added to the MVC campus in 1928.
New seating was installed and the press box was renovated in fall 2008.
For additional details about the renovation project, contact Tom Fifer at 660-831-4219 or firstname.lastname@example.org.