UCM Foundation Launches Fundraising Campaign to Expand Walton Stadium
WARRENSBURG, MO (Aug. 7, 2013) — Mules for Life, a $6-million fundraising campaign to complete Audrey J. Walton Stadium at the University of Central Missouri, has been launched by the UCM Foundation to update major facilities for the Mules Football team.
Construction has already begun on the project, which will finish the stadium’s lower level, turning the 15,000 square feet into a new locker room, team meeting room, sports medicine center, and strength and conditioning area. There also will be an office for the strength coach, physician’s exam room, equipment and laundry rooms, storage and restrooms.
"We've always taken pride in the quality of our athletic facilities here at UCM. For our team to compete in the tough MIAA and Division II, it's exciting to be a part of updating facilities that are more than 50 years old," said Mules Coach Jim Svoboda.
Walton Stadium has been home to the Mules since 1995. This project will create enhanced facilities for training, conditioning, team-building and game strategy, providing a stronger platform for recruiting and maximizing the student-athlete experience so they can compete at their fullest potential.
"This is the one of the most ambitious athletic fundraising projects in our history," said Athletic Director Jerry Hughes. "It will take a team effort to succeed and have the new facilities ready for the 2014-15 football season."
One such team fundraising component is the new locker room, where lockers will have plaques featuring former Mules by their jersey numbers or honor current players, former coaches and fans. Each plaque will have a maximum of eight names. To get a name on a plaque requires a $5,000 gift payable over five years. In addition to the locker project, several naming opportunities exist for the various rooms and areas of the facility.
Former Mule players and others interested in financially supporting the Walton Stadium Improvement Project are encouraged to contact Ryan Bowie at the UCM Foundation at 660-543-8000. Interested donors may make a gift online at ucmo.edu/mulesforlife. More information also appears on the athletics web site, UCMathletics.com.
"When you know the players who came before you and wore your jersey, it's motivational and inspiring on a daily basis," said Coach Svoboda. "By pulling together to fund this project, this will be another championship moment for our program."
In 1995, Mules Football facilities received a new look and name, thanks to a generous gift from Audrey J. Walton of Versailles, Mo. The project included a new grandstand, three-level press tower, donor suites, lighting and sound system. Subsequent gifts furnished interiors of the lobby and donor suites and upgraded the field to a synthetic surface. The most recent gift refurbished the press box, providing risers in each booth for media, coaches and game administrators. The expansion project would replace facilities currently housed in the 50-year-old General Services building, scheduled to be removed for a new retail and residential facility.