EAST LANSING, Mich. – Students rejoice. Big things are coming for Michigan State University’s on-campus athletic facilities.
Though its retro aesthetic can be charming, MSU’s IM West exercise facility has received criticism for its out-of-date infrastructure.
MSU says its in the beginning stages of a multi-year plan that will see the demolition of IM West to make way for a state-of-the-art replacement, said Kat Cooper, Director of Communications at MSU.
The new facility will be located at Cherry Lane Fields on MSU’s campus.
“We have permission to plan. Next, we will go to the board for permission to proceed. We’re probably still a year out from a shovel in the ground to build it,” Cooper said. “But we’re on our way for state-of-the-art facilities on campus.”
Meanwhile, remaining newer facilities like IM East will remain in operation. Cooper said there are no plans currently in place for IM Circle.
“Our current facilities, the intermural facilities, are between 40 and 100 years old. It’s time for some revitalization,” Cooper said.
MSU is already nearing completion with an early phase of its plan, which is new turf fields that will be accessible to students on Service Road.
Cooper said those fields will be open in the fall with a ribbon cutting scheduled for October.
Advantages offered by the new turf includes a drainage system, and space for facilities such as bathrooms and changing stations.
“The construction of the turf fields mean we can play for longer months and longer hours,” Cooper said. “These new fields mean students can start playing earlier in the spring and later in the fall. They have better drainage, so we don’t have to close for inclement weather.”
Cooper said the big difference maker for the university to go ahead with overhauling its athletic facilities has been the implementation of a new, mandatory student recreation fee as part of tuition costs.
The fee is $100 per year, or $50 per semester, through 2021-2022 and will increase to $260 by the 2023-2024 academic year.
The previous model saw students opt to pay a fee to use the MSU IM facilities. With the new fee, all on-campus facilities are available to every student.
Cooper said those fees helped provide the funding necessary for such a massive project.
“Unlike other Big Ten universities, MSU has been reticent to impose student fees. While our peers already had a student recreation fee that was funding IM facilities, MSU had a model where students paid if they wanted to use the facilities,” Cooper said. “With this new fee, students can use the existing IM facilities and will have full access to the new facility as well.”
To keep up with MSU’s on-campus projects, visit recsports.msu.edu/events/rebuilding.html