Construction on final phase of Herb Parker renovation begins next week

Minot State University will officially break ground on phase III of the Herb Parker Stadium renovation project June 10 at 1:30 p.m.

The final upgrades to the stadium include a Daktronics scoreboard and video screen and a three-story press box structure that will also feature suites, concessions, bathrooms and space for selling merchandise. The scoreboard is expected to be completed by August and the press box is scheduled to be finished by the 2014 fall season.

The first two phases included the installation of a FieldTurf playing surface, raised berms along the south and west edges of the field, a new lighting system and new bleachers that included a chair-back seating section. Local firm EAPC Architects and Engineers won a competitive bid process to complete all three phases. Construction on phase I began in 2010.

MSU Athletic Director Rick Hedberg said it was apparent the football facility needed an upgrade when he and university president Dr. David Fuller toured the campuses of 12 member schools of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference as the Beavers lobbied to join the league. MSU began competing in the NSIC during the 2012-13 academic year.

“There are some really nice facilities in the Northern Sun and we knew we had to do something in order to compete there,” Hedberg said. “It is important that your facilities are at least on par with your conference members. I think with this renovation, we’ll be right there. I wouldn’t say we’ll be at the top of the heap or anything, but we’ll be near the top with these upgrades.”

The university is receiving $4 million from the city for the press box, with $1 million to be granted each year.

The $658,000 video board – which is privately funded through sponsorships – is 44 feet wide and 31 feet, 8.8 inches tall. It will include a 15-by-25 video screen, an 8-by-25 scoreboard and space for advertisers.

“(Sponsorships are) obviously one way we’ve paid for the equipment and board,” Hedberg said. “There’s so many things you can do electronically, video-wise that you can’t do with static advertising.”

In addition to generating more revenue through advertising, suite rentals and concession and merchandise sales, the athletic department is hoping to improve the overall game-day experience for fans.

“People come to the game for a lot of various reasons and it’s not always to watch a game,” Hedberg said. “People come to (the Minnesota Twins’) Target Stadium and sometimes it’s just as fun to watch the big screen as it is to watch the game.”

Hedberg said “there are several next steps” for continuing the upgrades to MSU’s athletic facilities. The athletic department would like to renovate the MSU Dome, add an outdoor track around the football team’s practice field and add a seasonal bubble so outdoor events can be played during inclement weather. The MSU softball team played several games in bubbles during this harsh spring, including the NSIC tournament.

Hedberg said the athletic department has already begun raising funds for these projects.