The year-long process of mapping Bobcat Athletics’ future culminates Friday, when Montana State University publicly unveils its 20-year Athletics Facilities Master Plan.
The plan serves as the capstone of the department’s Strategic Plan, announced during the summer after months of engaging constituents, and incorporates new facilities into Bobcat Athletics’ existing structures to positively impact future generations of student-athletes. Montana State Athletics’ first comprehensive facilities plan this decade addresses increased training and academic demands faced by student-athletes and helps keep pace with MSU’s enrollment growth.
“In conjunction with our Strategic Plan, the Facilities Master Plan gives us a roadmap for the next 20 years of facilities development,” Director of Athletics Leon Costello said. “This is an important part of fostering our student-athletes’ continued success. The plan is all-encompassing, but the first thing we’d like to focus on is creating more academic space for all our student-athletes while creating a new home for our football program.”
The plan creates an athletics complex on the north end of Bobcat Stadium to house all football operations, including team rooms, offices, and other football-associated spaces. It also includes additional athletic training, strength and conditioning and nutritional areas. This move allows for the expansion of MSU’s academic services, along with strength and conditioning and athletic training, in Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. “This plan creates new space for an expanded and renovated academic center in the Fieldhouse,” Costello said. “And importantly, it improves the experience and well-being of all of our student-athletes because it allows more space and better time to use the Fieldhouse’s current facilities.”
Future plans call for the university’s two primary varsity competition venues to see major changes under the Facilities Master Plan. The north end zone of Bobcat Stadium is bowled in, adding seating while creating a new home for MSU’s football team in the Bobcat Athletic Complex. Located between the Stadium’s north end zone and Kagy Boulevard, it is designed to meet the every-day needs of a championship-level Division I football program with features such as locker room, equipment, nutrition, strength and athletic training facilities. The facility provides office and meeting areas, and serves as a hub for the program’s recruiting efforts.
In addition to the north end zone seating addition, Bobcat Stadium’s east side grandstand is replaced in coordination with the existing Sonny Holland End Zone. The newly-created area provides fan amenities such as improved concessions, restroom and seating facilities.
With football operations relocating, Brick Breeden Fieldhouse gains considerable space to enhance support services affecting all Bobcat student-athletes. The department’s enlarged Academic Center expands to house tutoring, computer stations and group study areas. In a separate phase, the Stadium’s West Sideline Press Box Tower adds retail and concessions opportunities to existing corporate, Stadium Club, Sky Suite and media facilities. Every MSU team other than football benefits from enhanced athletic training and strength facilities and new office and meeting spaces in Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.
A more fully-enclosed seating bowl highlights the enhancements to Worthington Arena, creating an intimate, electric game-day environment. It also features more accessible seating, suite and club space for basketball games and other events, and expanded concourse, restroom, concession and retail spaces, and a state-of-the-art center-hung video board and sound system.
The existing Bobcat-Anderson Tennis Center becomes home of the golf team, as well. While the tennis facility adds two additional indoor courts and renovates the four existing playing areas and align to provide spectator viewing, the golf portion of the building features four new hitting simulators and two instructional simulators. The facility also features classroom, meeting and office areas.
The most visible addition to MSU’s Athletics Facilities, the Bobcat Indoor Performance Facility, rises at the west side of the current football practice fields. The building features a 100-yard turf field serving as the practice home of the Bobcat football team, and a 300 meter eight-lane track serving as the competition home of the MSU track and field squad. In addition to media facilities that provide for camera locations, the facility seats 1,000 fans. Turf practice areas will be constructed east of the indoor facility.
The unifying concept of the plan is the M to M Connection, a corridor that connects the century-old block M on the side of Mt. Baldy overlooking the Gallatin Valley to MSU’s athletic facilities. While connecting the two most visible and historic symbols of Bobcat spirit and pride, the new M at the school’s athletic facilities also connects old traditions and new.
The Facilities Master Plan was constructed to allow for individual elements to be added as funding is achieved. It is also designed to create phases of development.