Stadium Expansion Approved, Kansas City Trust Gifts $30 Million

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COLUMBIA (AP) -- University of Missouri curators quickly approved a request to borrow $72 million to add 6,000 seats to the football stadium in Columbia.

The move comes as Missouri prepares to enter the Southeastern Conference, where eight schools have stadiums that hold at least 80,000. Memorial Stadium has a capacity of 71,004.

The university's governing board approved the 30-year debt financing plan on Tuesday. The expansion will add 5,200 bleacher seats on the stadium's east side and 800 to 900 premium seats, along with new restrooms, lounges and concession stands.

The financing plan will also allow Missouri to improve its tennis and golf facilities as well as its softball and baseball stadiums.

Taylor Stadium, where the baseball team plays, will get new field boxes and coaching offices. The plan will also allow for upgrades to the softball team's facility at University Field.  Those upgrades include installing a new left field wall and a new indoor hitting area.

Under the plan, the tennis team will  be getting new lockers at the Tennis Green where it practices.

The plan also allows for the school to build a new coaches clubhouse at Old Hawthorne, where the golf team practices.

The plan for improvements has been a work in progress for 14-16 months. Atheltic Director Mike Alden said Tuesday was a "historic day for Mizzou."

Missouri also announced a $30 million donation from the Kansas City Sports Trust for further football facility upgrades.

The $30 million gift is the second largest in MU history.

Missouri will officially join the Southeastern Conference on July 1st.