- Associated Press - Sunday, May 28, 2017

MARYVILLE, Mo. (AP) - Missouri university officials have approved plans for a more than $15 million athletic center.

The Maryville Daily Forum (https://bit.ly/2qqzwsJ ) reported that Northwest Missouri State University’s Board of Regents approved plans Thursday to construct an indoor multipurpose center which will serve both students and the community.

The plan calls for a nearly 140,000 square-foot facility that will have a practice turf for football, an indoor track and structures for baseball and softball. It will also accommodate intramural and club sports, and the Bearcat Marching Band.

“It is big, it really is,” Northwest Athletic Director Mel Tjeerdsma said. “For me, it is a piece of the puzzle that was missing for a long time. You start with an athletic standpoint, it will have a tremendous impact on track and field, baseball, softball and women’s golf.”

E.L. Crawford Construction Inc. was named the general contractor with a more than $15 million bid, though actual project costs are estimated at nearly $19 million.

University officials said another $550,000 needs to be raised before financing is fully in place.

A portion of a tax on nightly motel stays will pay for the construction.

A group of donors and businesses called the “Founding 50” have committed to raising another $12.9 million for the project.

Northwest President John Jasinski said the groundbreaking ceremony will be on June 15. The center is scheduled to open August 2018.

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