The Minot State University athletic department broke ground on the third and final phase of the Herb Parker Stadium renovation project Monday afternoon.
MSU Athletic Director Rick Hedberg emceed the event, with university president David Fuller, city council president Jim Hatlelid, student body president Josh Sandy and Terry Hjelmstad of the State Board of Higher Education also taking turns at the podium.
The final upgrades to the university's football facility include a Daktronics scoreboard and video screen and a three-story press box structure that will also feature suites, concessions, bathrooms and space for merchandise sales. 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.
The video board is expected to be completed in August and the press box is scheduled to be finished by the 2014 fall season.
Local firm EAPC Architects and Engineers won a competitive bid process to complete all three phases and construction on phase I began in 2010.
"This is a special day - a day that's been in the works a long time," Hedberg said.
MSU football coach Paul Rudolph said the upgrades will help the Beavers compete with other Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference schools in recruiting. MSU began competing in the NSIC during the 2012-13 academic year.
"That's the big thing - when you get a guy on campus and they see a big-looking, real fine structure, everything right there just warrants that it's important and it's going to be well-attended," Rudolph said. "It puts us right up there with the Joneses in the rest of the league."
Both additions are expected to raise revenue for the athletic department - the video board through advertisements and promotions and the press box structure through suite rentals and concession and merchandise sales.
The $4 million press box is being funded through the community facilities fund, with $1 million to be granted to MSU each year. The $658,000 video board was privately funded through sponsorships.
"Beaver athletes are always giving 100 percent and we're glad to see that our community, that our administration is giving us 100 percent as well," said Sandy, who also competes on the MSU track and field team.