DLR Group mesmerizing Memorial Stadium rejig


University of Missouri hires DLG Group Image: California Memorial Stadium, Roman Fuchs, CC BY-SA 3.0

The University of Missouri (Columbia, Missouri, US) Board of Curators continued the momentum for Mizzou Athletics unanimously approving the hiring of the Kansas City architecture firm DLR Group on April 18th to design this historic project that will move forward with plans to transform and modernize the Memorial Stadium, the iconic home facility for Mizzou Football since 1926.

‘mutigers.com’ stated that designed to preserve the stadium’s tradition-rich elements while embracing a vibrant future for Mizzou, the $250 million Memorial Stadium Improvements Project will enhance the fan experience by further enclosing the North end of the stadium and adding a variety of new premium seating options along the North edge of the venue along with other upgrades throughout the facility.

The current schedule developed by the DLR Group expects the project to be complete by the start of the 2026 college football season, coinciding with the 100-year anniversary of Mizzou’s first game at the Memorial Stadium.

The University of Missouri is a public land-grant research university in Columbia, Missouri (US). It is Missouri’s largest university and the flagship of the four-campus University of Missouri System. The University of Missouri was founded in 1839 as the first public university West of the Mississippi River.

The Mizzou Athletics is the University of Missouri’s (MU) athletic program, which is a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

Birmingham (US)-based the Southeastern Conference (SEC) is an American college athletic Conference whose member institutions are located primarily in the South Central and Southeastern United States.

Kansas City (US)-based the DLR Group is an integrated design firm delivering architecture, engineering, interiors, planning, and building optimization for new construction, renovation and adaptive reuse. The firm’s promise is to elevate the human experience through design.

The 62,621-capacity Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium is an outdoor sports stadium in Columbia, Missouri, United States, on the campus of the University of Missouri. It is primarily used for football and serves as the home field for the Missouri Tigers’ program.

The Missouri Tigers intercollegiate athletics programs represent the University of Missouri, located in Columbia. The name comes from a band of armed Union Home Guards called the Fighting Tigers of Columbia who, in 1864, protected Columbia from the Confederate guerrillas during the American Civil War.

The Missouri Tigers football program represents the University of Missouri in college football and competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Missouri’s football program dates back to 1890 and has appeared in 36 Bowl games.

Indianapolis (US)-based the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit organization that regulates student athletics among about 1,100 schools in the United States and one in Canada. It also organizes the athletic programs of the colleges and helps over 500,000 college student-athletes who compete annually in college sports.

Birmingham (US)-based the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as the Division I-A, is the highest level of college football in the United States. The FBS consists of the largest schools in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. As of the 2024 season, there are 10 Conferences and 134 schools in FBS.

‘mutigers.com’ further stated that the Board of Curators approved the above resolution at the April 18th Board meeting in Rolla on the campus of the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

The University of Missouri Board of Curators has the Constitutional authority to oversee the operation of the four-campus University of Missouri System. The University of Missouri System is an American State University system providing centralized administration for four universities, a healthcare system, an extension program, and 10 research and technology parks. Over 51,000 students are currently enrolled at its four campuses.

Remarked Robin Wenneker, Board Chair, “We are competing in a dynamic, highly ambitious environment in intercollegiate athletics and across the totality of higher education. We are momentum investing in the Memorial Stadium to elevate Mizzou’s national brand and deliver a world-class facility that creates year-round connections for the Tiger Nation within the campus, the community and the State of Missouri. We want to be pacesetters and establish the new standard for success.”

The Memorial Stadium planned renovations envision up to 160,500 square feet of new construction, including 98,000 square feet that will be enclosed as part of the new premium seating areas. The project will explore the development of 14 field-level open-air suites and two new club sections, including a field level 300-person Rock M Club built directly under the historic Rock M Hill behind the current North end zone. The renovations could add up to 51 new suites total, including 28 cabanas featuring large social spaces in covered settings. The new premium spaces will also include loge seating options and mezzanine club luxury outdoor seats.

The DLR Group’s design will preserve the historic Rock M Hill while providing general admission seating for up to 2,600 fans.

The Rock M Hill is a 90-foot wide and 95-foot high whitewashed rock ‘M’ that stands above the North end zone of the Memorial Stadium at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. The landmark was built in 1927 by students using leftover rocks from the construction of the stadium. The ‘M’ is a traditional block carved from stone by the freshman class and is a unique landmark for the stadium.

Observed Bob Blitz, Curator, “Of utmost importance, the improvements will enable our student body, the alumni and the fans to enjoy an unparalleled exciting gameday experience while viewing the best football in the United States.”

As part of the project, Mizzou will upgrade the restrooms and concessions throughout the stadium and convert the current field-level Bunker Club in the South end zone to a team recruiting center. The other planned features include the expanded event space designed for Mizzou Athletics and the other Mizzou programs to host events, an upgraded stadium sound system, multicolored light-emitting diode (LED) field lighting, stadiumwide Wi-Fi improvements, and upgraded ribbon boards throughout the stadium.

The renovations could push the stadium’s capacity from its current level of 62,621 to closer to 65,000 depending on the finalized programing plans. In 2023, Mizzou led the Southeastern Conference in attendance growth for the second consecutive season and sold out the final five home games – the program’s first stretch of five consecutive sellouts since 1980.

Maintained Mun Choi, University of Missouri President, The Memorial Stadium is a special place for the Mizzou fans throughout the State of Missouri and beyond. I want to thank Chair Wenneker and the Board of Curators for their leadership on these significant investments for Mizzou Athletics. We are excited to continue work on designing this project and developing the necessary fundraising and finance plans. The expansion to the Memorial Stadium, combined with the new leadership we expect to announce soon, are major steps in achieving our championship goals.”

Under Eliah Drinkwitz, the 2023 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, the Mizzou Football finished 11-2 in 2023, culminating with a 14-3 victory over the Ohio State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. This past year, Coach Drinkwitz signed his third Top 25 recruiting class in four seasons and continues to secure highly sought prospects from the transfer portal. The Tigers ended 2023 ranked No. 8 in the national polls, the program’s highest postseason ranking in a decade.

Averred Drinkwitz, “We are creating the perfect environment for the Mizzou supporters to fully contribute to our program’s success. We are extremely grateful to the Board of Curators and President Choi for their continued investments in athletics. You certainly can’t do it alone and our players, the coaches and the staff is proud to represent our State’s flagship institution and passionate fan base.”

‘DLRGROUP’ quoted Ryan Freeland, AIA Senior Associate, Sports Design Leader, as stating, “The Memorial Stadium Improvements Project will be transformational for the University of Missouri. The design is rooted in the traditions of Mizzou Athletics, while offering a refreshed and elevated gameday experience for all the fans. The renovation will bring fans closer to the field, amplifying the energy of the stadium and enhancing the gameday atmosphere, creating a first-in-class experience within the Southeastern Conference and throughout college football.”

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