Alumni Association to construct amphitheater for MU’s 175th year

Located on north side of the Carnahan Quadrangle, Traditions Plaza expects to seat between 750 and 1,000 people.
Fences and construction equipment are visible on the north end of the Carnahan Quadrangle on Monday, July 7, 2014. The Mizzou Alumni Association began construction on an amphitheater, Traditions Plaza, on July 1.

The Mizzou Alumni Association has begun construction on an amphitheater called “Traditions Plaza” in honor of MU’s 175th anniversary.

“We’ve been searching for a project for two years,” the association’s executive director Todd McCubbin said. “We wanted to find a project that would enhance campus while allowing some fundraising advantages for the Alumni Association. The proceeds from the project will (go toward) an endowment that supports (MU) traditions.”

Traditions Plaza is expected to seat between 750 and 1,000 people and will be located on the north side of the Mel Carnahan Quadrangle, across from Jesse Hall.

“We hope it enhances the campus by taking a nice green space and providing a usable, programming space,” McCubbin said. “(The Missouri Students Association) and (the Department of Student Life) seem genuinely excited about the opportunities the amphitheater presents.”

The amphitheater will have several uses including concerts, receptions and spirit rallies, as well as being a quiet place to study, McCubbin said.

“Students and student organizations are constantly jockeying for event space. I see [the amphitheater] as becoming a highlight of campus, allowing students to convene in a beautiful and convenient location," the Alumni Association’s Student Board President Bobby Hoffman said. "I am not aware of any specific future events planned for the plaza as of yet. However, I can definitely see it turning into a hotspot for student organization meetings, rallies, marketing, and so forth. I know (the student board) really looks forward to utilizing the plaza for some of our events."

Construction started around July 1 and is scheduled to be completed before the upcoming fall semester starts.

As Jesse Hall will close for the upcoming academic year for renovations, the new amphitheater is coming at an especially good time, Hoffman said.

"I know that student organizations have been concerned about the closing of Jesse Hall since the Renew Mizzou campaign was announced," Hoffman said. "While Traditions Plaza wasn't planned to directly offset some of the disadvantages of Jesse Auditorium's closing, it does appear to be very fortunate timing."

The Department of Student Activities is one of those organizations eager to plan events at the new amphitheater, the department’s director Chelsea Fricker said.

“Having another outdoor programming space on campus will be great for (us),” she said. “The setup of the plaza will be a really unique place for us to present speakers, comedians, poets, etc. for the rest of campus. The plaza will be an amazing addition to our campus and I think it will provide a wonderful opportunity for us to program more outdoor events.”

However, the main reason behind constructing the amphitheater is not entertainment; it is tradition, McCubbin said, and that is how Traditions Plaza earned its name.

“(MU) is such a tradition-rich campus and this amphitheater is going to celebrate those traditions, whether it’s Homecoming or Tiger Walk,” McCubbin said.“It’ll be a place for MU students past and present to gather and leave their mark on the school.”

Students and alumni can also purchase bricks with their names engraved to become a part of the plaza.

Current MU students and recent graduates can purchase a brick for $175, in honor of the anniversary year.

These bricks will help to pay for the construction, which is expected to cost around $1.2 million.

“We have done brick sales in the past, like for the legacy walk, and they have proved successful,” McCubbin said.

Overall, McCubbin believes faculty and students alike would be excited for this new addition to MU.

“Our Governing Board is excited to fund this project. One of our strategic goals is to enhance the (MU) Experience and we think Traditions Plaza can do that...Our hope is that Traditions Plaza will enhance the student experience," said McCubbin, “whether that be through events like concerts/performances/spirit rallies, or the dynamic way the Plaza will celebrate/educate about Mizzou traditions, or hopefully adding to the beauty of campus.”

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