When Hughes Fieldhouse opened its doors for the first time, the price point on the building was $21 million, but what leaves the building is priceless memories and growth.
As the construction crew broke ground on the Fieldhouse a little more than a year ago, the Northwest Missouri State University Athletic Department gazed down at the dirt. There they pictured the rewards of community interaction and championship competition intertwined to make a powerhouse atmosphere.
The Fieldhouse debuted to the public Oct. 12, with a goal in mind of reaching the community, while increasing athletic appearance as well as production on the field. The Hughes Fieldhouse will play host to all the sports Northwest houses, but the main contributing factor that brings hope to the minds of Northwest is the increase of winter/spring sports abilities.
The newest toy in the athletic department’s arsenal is setting a strong example for future affects with a variety of events already taking place.
“We have five weekends of track and field meets so far,” Northwest Athletic Director Andy Peterson said. “We also have at least two camps each for baseball, softball, and soccer through the winter months. For groups outside of athletics, I know that Greg Hansen and his team in Student Recreation have a ton of stuff scheduled for intramurals and club sports as well as just open recreation and fitness.”
Hughes Fieldhouse – Indoor Track & Field Schedule
Dec. 7-8 – Mel Tjeerdsma Classic | Meet Info | Meet Schedule
Jan. 18-19 – Northwest Open | Meet Info | Meet Schedule
Feb. 8-9 – Bearcat Invitational | Meet Info | Meet Schedule
Feb. 15-16 – KCAC Indoor Meet
Feb. 22-24 – MIAA Indoor Track & Field Championships
The Mel Tjeerdsma Classic will be the first competition in the Hughes Fieldhouse. Northwest track and field head coach Brandon Masters expects 14 teams to compete. Admission is set for $5 for each day of competition for fans to come and enjoy the action.
|Central Methodist University|
|Cloud County Community College|
|Missouri Western State University|
|Northwest Missouri State University|
|Truman State University|
|William Jewell College|
|University of Nebraska Omaha|
|Upper Iowa University|
Community interaction is a crucial part of the fieldhouse, as the track and facility are all open to the public. The public affected the fieldhouse by the institution of the “bed tax,” with this tax the community brought in $3.45 million that was needed to finish construction.
This tool is a way to provide a symbol for the Bearcat family, because the family is not just the students, but the city and all of the citizens within it.
With that in mind, another reason for the building came at the regard that every student should have a chance to see the building and feel the effects it has on the student body.
“It’s incredibly valuable to everything Northwest,” Peterson said. “The best part though, is that fact that it isn’t just an athletics’ building and every student at Northwest can get in there and workout, compete, and enjoy being a Bearcat.”
One of the many teams that significantly feels the boost of the new fieldhouse is the indoor track and field team. With three indoor and five weekends of track and field events, compared to zero, the fieldhouse already has impacted the program for the positives.
“We will be hosting three indoor meets that will have many schools from the surrounding region. These meets provide great competition,” Northwest Track and Field coach Brandon Masters said. “We will also be hosting the MIAA Conference Championships this year, this is one of the best conference meets in the country as the MIAA is very talented. It is an amazing opportunity to have this meet at home.”
With more events, the Bearcats can showcase their new home and alongside that comes impacts on the recruiting trail.
“A majority of our recruits come from Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska, they know if you want to be good you need to train during the winter. Running in your school’s hallways gets old fast, because of this Hughes Fieldhouse is an amazing tool for recruiting,” Masters said. “With recruiting maximized our team will be competitive in the MIAA and nationally as well, I have very high goals for this program and believe that we can achieve these goals. This is the reason I am here at Northwest Missouri State, I know we can win here.”
Though indoor track and field gets the brunt of the impacts starting off, there is no shortage of gifts being passed at Northwest’s table. From the batting cages to the weight room, facilities for the Northwest athletic teams are top notch and can help generate a push to make that winning culture stronger.
One program for instance already has taken a step in the right direction with the help of the fieldhouse. The Bearcat baseball team after their first MIAA title since the ’80s, used the fieldhouse as a recruiting tool and brought home the No. 14 ranked recruiting class in Division II.
There is no shortage of success within the Northwest athletic program, but with room to grow the fieldhouse will allow Northwest to begin its growth period to see what levels are possible on the winning scale.
“Selfishly, as the Athletic Director, I love that it has something for all of our outdoor programs,” Peterson said. “For me it’s the versatility and fact that it has and will continue to positively affect every one of our athletic programs.”