Fanfare accompanies opening of new stadium

Facility already scheduled to host 2009 Sun Belt championship

May 1, 2007 · MT Media Relations

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Good news travels fast and it didn't take long for the construction of the Middle Tennessee Track and Soccer Stadium to start returning an investment for the University, the City of Murfreesboro, the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, and the Tennessee Secondary Schools Association (TSSAA).

The multi-million dollar facility, located at the corner of Greenland Drive and Champions Way, was officially dedicated with administration officials from Middle Tennessee, the City of Murfreesboro, the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, and the TSSAA on hand for an official ribbon cutting.

The ceremony had barely unfolded when Director of Athletics Chris Massaro, who ironically was celebrating the second anniversary of his current appointment Tuesday, announced that Middle Tennessee already has secured a bid for the 2009 Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships, and he also announced bids are being prepared to land the 2009 Sun Belt Conference Soccer Championships, as well as the 2009 NCAA Track and Field Regionals.

"I am so grateful to live in a city that recognizes the economic power of Middle Tennessee," Massaro said. "This unbelievable facility enables us to host major events and we are working to do that. We are going to be good partners to the City of Murfreesboro, and the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce by bringing special events to this facility. This is one of the finest soccer and track facilities in the country. Middle Tennessee is on the move and we will not settle for second best."

Seating capacity inside the facility is right at 1,500. The complex includes four locker rooms designed for flex utilization, a 700-square foot press box and an 845-square foot camera deck.

Middle Tennessee President Sidney McPhee said the partnership between the University, the city of Murfreesboro, the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, and the TSSAA helps continue to accomplish goals within the University community that will impact all areas.

"One of our strategic goals, and we only have three, is building partnerships to help us accomplish our mission within the University," McPhee said. "This is a classic example of achieving a goal in action. The City of Murfreesboro, the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, and the University are all partners in helping us reach the next level. This is one of the finest facilities you will find anywhere in the country and it was only possible when we were able to leverage the resources and support of our partners."

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In addition to the many events the facility will enable Middle Tennessee to host, the TSSAA will also conduct its annual Spring Fling in Murfreesboro.

"For high school athletes to be able to come into a facility like this is beyond description because we're going to have a great facility for them to run and compete in, and it's a great facility for fans to watch the competition, as well," said Ronnie Carter, executive director of the TSSAA.

"The (track) facility at Middle Tennessee is unbelievable," Carter continued. "In my time, I have never seen a track facility in the state of Tennessee this close to it. UT has a great track facility but this is the 'Taj Mahal' if there is such a thing. It overwhelms me each time I see it."

Andy Womack, who serves as chair for the Chamber of Commerce said the facility is a great business investment for all involved.

"I think the greatest thing as a representative with the Chamber of Commerce is to see our city and our University partnering to make such a first-class project," Womack said. "This is something that not only will be an asset to our University, but is also is going to be a tremendous asset to the city because of the tourism. We will be hosting Spring Fling, and then there is the possibility of other soccer and track events and that's what makes this such a tremendous investment. It is very gratifying when you come from the business community to see such a good business investment made that profit everyone in the community."

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