Key piece of Mizzou South End Zone Project about to disappear

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COLUMBIA - The South End Zone Project at Faurot Field is just over halfway through its construction timeline and people in Columbia will soon be seeing a difference.

According to Deputy Athletic Director Nick Joos, the crane will be coming down "sometime around the bowl game or the new year."

Joos said the project is on time and should be completed before next season, but that is dependent on an uncontrollable factor.

"The weather over the next 60 to 90 days will play a key role in making sure we stay on track and that the workers can work outside and get the building framed in," he said.

When it is finished, the new building will house premium seating, general admission seating, 16 luxury suites and a bunker club that the team will walk through onto the field. 

"This affords us another opportunity to develop more premium seating, which is continually in demand by our fans," Joos said. "At the end of the day, it will provide a better fan experience and a better student-athlete experience."

For the team, there will be new meeting rooms, a locker room and a weight room. Joos said this will have a positive impact beyond the football team. He said it will open up the Missouri Athletic Training Complex for other Mizzou teams.

"By getting the football players out of the MATC, that will allow us to re-purpose that space for other athletes and other teams that also have big demands on space," he said. "So all of our other sports are going to win in this project as well."

Fans could also be seeing a change in prices for next year. Due to a decrease in south end zone seating, the area that was previously one of the cheaper options in the stadium, Joos said the athletic department will be reevaluating its pricing.
"I think there will be some adjustments for the 2019 season relative to pricing," he said. "We understand the price conscientiousness of our fans and we want to keep Mizzou football affordable."

With the new end zone comes a decrease in total capacity. The final numbers are not set but Joos estimates the final capacity will be around 65,000. Before construction the capacity was just over 71,000 but Mizzou has struggled to fill the stadium in the last few years.

"Every game is on television now and it didn't used to be that way, even five years ago. When Mizzou first joined the SEC, not every game was on television," Joos said. "So the demand for the fan 'I have to be in the stadium each and every game' may not be there anymore, or as great as what it was."
Not every fan is thrilled about the change though. Beth Alpers, who has been a season ticket holder in the south end zone for more than 15 years, said she liked the atmosphere of the old area.
"I go partly for the game and the team, I'm a big fan from the 70s, but also for the experience and that seating arrangement really made the experience," Alpers said.
Despite saying the change is not for her, Alpers said she does understand why Mizzou is doing it.
"I think that they're striving for a different experience and probably they've done research on other stadiums and seen what other stadiums are offering so they're trying to offer something special and something different," she said.
Joos said the project could generate anywhere from $5-10 million per year.