It's official. The IPF is open for business.
The building that has been in use for a couple of months, has been in the building stages for two years, and has been a dream for at least two decades is now officially a reality.
One of the finest football complexes in America now sits in the southeast part of the Ole Miss campus between the expanded and improved Vaught-Hemingway Stadium/Hollingsworth Field and the new, first-class track and field facility.
Today, George Smith, Robert Khayat, Pete Boone, and David Cutcliffe spoke to a group on the turf of the new building and talked of how much this facility will help Ole Miss in the future.
"It is indeed a dream come true," said Smith, Director of the Loyalty Foundation. "We want to thank all those involved. It's a special day."
Chancellor Khayat agreed and expounded upon the virtues of the massive structure.
"This project has been made possible because of the leadership of the Loyalty Foundation and the generosity of our donors," Khayat said. "Over the last few years we've seen some remarkable things happen across the campus. It's critical that the support system for athletics be nationally competitive. That support system includes facilities. Ten years ago when Pete Boone first became athletics director, we had some work to do with facilities. I'm very happy to say that over that 10-year period we've invested 67 million dollars in athletics facilities."
*** Two additions to the football stadium
*** Construction of the Gillom Indoor Center
*** Construction of the soccer field and stadium
*** Construction of the softball field and stadium with more work upcoming
*** Improvements at the baseball stadium
*** New seats installed at the coliseum
*** New track and field complex and stadium
*** Improvements to the golf course with more improvements to come
*** Tennis facility improvements
"We find that with the addition of this indoor facility that Ole Miss athletes and coaches have the opportunity to practice and play games in state of the art facilities on the fields and courts," Khayat said. "We are now nationally competitive.
"I join all of you in celebrating the ribbon cutting for this wonderful, state of the art, nationally competitive indoor practice facility," he concluded.
Also joining in the day's activities were representatives of BancorpSouth, G.G. Ferguson and Associates, and White Construction.
"The Loyalty Foundation built this project, and it's on University land," Boone said. "So there were a lot of hoops to jump through and hurdles to overcome. There are several other universities now trying to use that same sort of format to expedite their financing of different projects. It's another case where Ole Miss has broken through a few barriers to try to get some things done in a very efficient way.
"We thank Dick Scruggs and Archie Manning for leading the fund-raising for this campaign," Boone continued. "They did an excellent job. We have a little ways to go with our financing and some folks we'll be calling on in the next few months. This has been a real team effort as it should be in sports. I thank all the people involved."
Cutcliffe said it will certainly help the football program for years to come.
"It is appropriate that it's raining outside," the sixth-year head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels said, "and so we had to move inside for this ribbon cutting. This facility can mean so much to the athletics program here. I thank all who have made this possible. It's phenomenal to see what can occur when people get together with a common goal.
"There's no question this will help us attract the top quality athletes from around the country," Cutcliffe continued, "and once they are here and become one of our own, their development is through the ceiling. What Coach (Ruben) Mendoza and his staff can do here, what we can do from a practice standpoint, what this means overall to our program we can't really measure. It will greatly impact what we do and who we are. Again thanks to all who spearheaded this project. We appreciate you and God bless."
IPF officially opens
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