The Hughes Fieldhouse, the largest public-private partnership in the 113 year history of Northwest Missouri State University, and destined to become a showcase fixture of the campus, was unveiled in a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony at Maryville on Oct. 12, 2018.
Construction of the impressive $21 million facility was realized due to a $14 million donation from a team of 50 donors headed by the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Family Foundation. Carl and Cheryl are Lake Viking Association members; their house is one of the largest on the lake and greatly contributes to the aesthetic beauty of the area.
Of their big contribution to their alma mater resulting in the Hughes Fieldhouse, Carl Hughes says: “You get behind something you believe in. I hope this building gets worn out and I expect that competition will be keen to have access. I expect the completion of this building will further enhance Northwest’s strategic mission and that the building will be utilized by countless students and organizations within Northwest and the community.”
As Carl’s statement reflects, the Hughes Fieldhouse will host a variety of university and community activities year-round. Northwest club sports and student organizations, from Greek fraternities and sororities to the Bearcat Marching Band, will actively use the facility. All Bearcat athletic teams will benefit from being able to practice inside the facility during their off seasons or inclement weather. The facility will also host intercollegiate and high-school track meets, community fund-raisers, exhibitions, trade shows, business gatherings, concerts, and special events.
The Hughes Fieldhouse is a huge facility with an area of 137,250 square feet which is equal to 2.15 football fields or 2.84 acres under a roof. It includes a 90-yard practice turf and 300-meter track and is projected to have an economic impact of $23.8 million which is the equivalent of 946 new jobs. The fieldhouse culminates an involvement with NWMSU that began when Cheryl Deweerdt Hughes (NWMSU class of ’78) was a Bearcat cheerleader and member of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, while Carl (NWMSU class of ’76) was a Bearcat football player and member of the Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity.
The dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. on Oct. 12 was followed by a Bearcat Tailgate Zone on Oct. 13 that featured tours of the fieldhouse, live music, and interaction between kids and Northwest student athletes. The events marked an exciting occasion for the Northwest Missouri State University family.
— by Troy Lesan, with info contributed by Mark & Missy Leggett