$2.5-Million Invested in Renovations to Improve Field of Play and Surfaces for Student-Athletes
Morgan State University’s W.A.C. Hughes Memorial Stadium is currently undergoing a major overhaul of its football field and running track. The $2.5 million renovation project, which began on May 28, includes the replacement of the stadium’s existing field with a new premium playing surface and the upgrade to a new high-performance, all-weather track. Beynon Sports was selected to oversee the project and installation which is slated to be completed in time for the start of the fall football camp in early August. Updates to the project can be viewed online.
“The latest phase of upgrades to Morgan’s athletic facilities is part of our systematic approach to improving and elevating key assets that we have on campus,” said Director of Athletics Edward Scott, Ph.D. “The investment in our facilities represents the University’s continued commitment to providing Morgan’s coaches and student-athletes with a high caliber athletic experience and the best resources available.”
The current renovation project is part of an ongoing, comprehensive enhancement initiative directed by Dr. Scott and supported by Morgan President David Wilson to improve the conditions, look and feel of the University’s athletic accommodations. This latest round of improvements comes on the heels of University’s installation of a new scoreboard at the stadium and facility branding enhancements; a redesign of the Talmadge Hill Field House court including new LED video displays; lighting and windscreens for the tennis courts, and upgrades to the Lois T. Murray Softball Field. Student-Athletes were also provided with a new academic center housed within Hill Field House. In all, during the past three years the University has made an investment of approximately $5 million into improving its athletic facilities.
The field, which is named for legendary Morgan coach Earl C. Banks and serves as the site for Bear’s Football home games, will feature a FieldTurf Versalush Landscape Turf. Known industrywide as one of the foremost brands in artificial turf technology, FieldTurf is expected to improve player safety, enhance play of the game, and withstand the rigors of Division 1 football competition. FieldTurf surfaces are currently being used in the National Football League (NFL) as well as in a number of Big 10 university stadiums, including at the University of Maryland, College Park.
The upgrade to the playing field comes at an opportune time, as new head football coach Tyrone Wheatley launches a new chapter in the program’s history and seeks to field a winning team. Officials in Morgan’s Athletic Department anticipate that the upgraded field will also assist in attracting top talent to the program. The Bears play their first home game this season on the new field against North Carolina Central University on Saturday, September 28, 2019.
“The Hughes Stadium project aligns with President [David] Wilson’s vision to make Morgan one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country,” said Joseph McIver, senior associate athletics director. “These renovations will provide a tremendous boost to that effort and will aid in bringing top-notch student-athletes to the Morgan athletic program.”
In addition to the enhanced football field, the new running track will be one of the top surfaces in the country upon completion. The new eight-lane Beynon BSS 2000 performance track will feature an encapsulated surfacing at a thickness of 13mm and will be colored blue and orange with orange exchange zones. The Olympic-caliber track will attract top runners and invitational meets as it is billed to improve performances and endure weather conditions. Beynon’s tracks are designed for speed, competition and daily training.
The new track will not only be a plus for Morgan’s highly-competitive Track and Field teams, it will also serve the University in retaining and attracting the top state and regional track events. Hughes Memorial Stadium hosts the annual Legacy Track Meet held in the spring and most recently the venue served as the site for the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association (MPSSAA) State Championship Meets.
Morgan’s Track and Field teams are scheduled to open up their season on the new track in March of 2020 and Morgan State will again host the Legacy Track Meet in April of next year.
Hughes Memorial Stadium last underwent a major restoration project in 2001 when the “Home of the Bears” received a much-needed facelift.
“The National Treasure continues to look toward the future,” added McIver.
Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution offering more than 100 academic programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information about Morgan State University, visit www.morgan.edu.
Leonard Haynes, Athletics