Ole Miss Football To Upgrade Stadium, Facilities

2021 Week 11 College Football Watch Guide

The Ole Miss Rebels are making moves, not only in football, but to the football program’s operations facility. Per David Johnson of the 247Sports site, Ole Miss Spirit, the Rebels are ready to upgrade the stadium and facilities, with donor money. The Manning Center alone is due for a renovation, expansion, and upgrade to the tune of $35-40 million. With the move by Ole Miss football to upgrade, the school has hired a third-party company, HOK Sports out of Kansas City, MO, to aid in the development of the massive project.

Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

The West stands are about 358 years old. The press box and the blue seats are also in need of upgrading. The lower East stands are similar to the West, with a more closed-in concourse. There have been some changes to the stadium and training facilities over the years. However the last major expansion to the stadium occurred in 2016. With that upgrade, the North end zone was renovated, creating a new student section and generating room for Party Deck Catering tents.

In years prior, the South end zone was renovated, establishing the club levels and improved stands. The addition of the Rebel Club and seats in the East Stands circa 1998. The older of the past renovations previously listed not only increased capacity, but opened the possibility for more fans to drink with the installation of the liquor lockers in the stadium.

The New Look

For the upcoming renovations, the Rebels are going big, and not just with the football stadium. First up is the new locker room, which has been an ongoing project prior to head coach Lane Kiffin’s arrival. Since he has been at Ole Miss, one of the main components to upgrade has also been the weight room. It has been about seven years or so since they have installed new graphics and new technology to the facility. Architects from the HOK Sports company are working diligently with coaches as well as administration to create the plans for the upgrades.

In addition to the Manning Center, the Vaught-Hemingway Stadium will also be getting a facelift and upgrade. The West side of the stadium is to be fully renovated by the 2026-27 season.

Also, the soccer and softball programs are on the agenda for upgraded facilities. The entire project for all facilities, including the stadium renovations and upgrades, are expected to total around $250-300 million. The university and planning company say they hope to begin the projects around the first of the year.

Donating To A Good Cause

In addition to hiring HOK Sports, donors are playing a big part in the overhauling of sports at Ole Miss. Sam Millette, Jr., a 1975 graduate of the School of Business Administration, and his wife, Lynne, support the improvements. As avid fans, they say they understand the need for upgraded facilities in collegiate sports programs in order to remain competitive. To show their support, the Millettes recently donated $2 million to Ole Miss athletics to support the Manning Center improvements. In return, the Rebel tunnel at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium will be renamed to honor the Millette family.

Running Out Under A New Name

“Sam and Lynne’s tremendously generous gift proves the passionate support of our Ole Miss family and comes at a pivotal time for Ole Miss athletics and our university,” Chancellor Glenn Boyce  told Ole Miss Spirit. “We are extremely grateful for their support and for leading the way through their philanthropic generosity. It’s our pleasure to publicly thank the Millette family for this selfless act and their generations of support.”

Millette said that he enjoys knowing his family members will appreciate the honor for years to come.

The newly named Sam Millette Family Tunnel opens at the stadium’s Southwest end. It is the entrance in which the football team runs out onto the field, fans cheering, on game days.

“This is where the energy happens; it’s where the players get psyched up for the game ahead. It’s where the fans first see the team and then cheer them into the arena,” said Jordie Kindervater. The Ole Miss Athletics Foundation associate director talked with Ole Miss Spirit about the new undertaking.

“The Millette name will be right there – a part of all that excitement. We are extremely grateful for this gift and all that it will help us accomplish on behalf of our student-athletes.”

Donor support has been crucial to the completion of a number of recent projects for Ole Miss athletics. Along with the hiring of a large company for major renovations planning, Ole Miss is working to keep up with the facilities arm race in the SEC.  It will take a lot of work and effort, as well as money, to upgrade the stadium and facilities.

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