Tax Dollars to Pay For MSU Athletic Upgrade

Mustang athletics are on a roll, making it only natural to seek improvements both on and off the field.

Now, Midwestern State University President Jesse Rogers is working to make one proposed improvement a reality: Improving and adding lighting to the outdoor fields.

Rogers said, "Being able to light this field, the softball field means we don't have to miss the super regional tournament.  We can have it here because if we have lights we can play night games, which we have to do.

Wichita Falls mayor Glenn Barham said the improved lighting will help the city. "It will bring some tournaments to town, which in turn brings people to town, which in turn brings dollars to town."

Newschannel 6 got a private tour of the athletic fields from president Rogers.
He says the fields desperately need the upgrades to comply with NCAA standards.

"We cannot use state funds to build athletic facilities so it was a perfect thing to ask for it.  It's funds we didn't have.'

Funding for the project is now coming from the cities 4-B Sales Tax Board.  Newschannel 6 asked assistant city manager Kevin Hugman why the university wants to use taxpayer money.

He explained the university has a capitol campaign kicking off and it wants to focus their fundraising on other projects.  Hugman also said the lighting project does meet the requirements to be funded by the board.

President Rogers said, "We bring in over fifty million dollars a year that goes directly into the Wichita Falls economy and that seemed to fit the 4-B program."

According to a report compiled by the university that money accounts for 13.7% of MSU's overall economic impact on the city.  As a whole the report says the university contributes over 5 billion dollars.