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Other views: MSU's future is now

It was just a few symbolic shovels full of dirt, but the underlying message was crystal clear Monday at Minot State University: The future begins now.

MSU and civic leaders were on hand Monday to "break ground" on renovations to Herb Parker Stadium. The existing field and track will be removed and replaced with an artificial Field Turf surface. New lighting is also planned, as well as some other physical changes to the stadium to create more of a "bowl" feeling.

It's all being done as MSU continues the transition to NCAA Division II.

The new field is scheduled to be ready when MSU opens its home football schedule on Aug. 26. The MSU women's soccer team begins its home schedule the next day.

The changes are necessary if MSU is to be successful in its transition from an NAIA school to a Division II institution. Upgrading the school's athletic facilities was a priority, and the football stadium represents a huge leap for MSU. Once the new field is installed, the university will host as many events as it can, without concerns that come with playing too many games on natural grass. The MSU football team can play and practice on the field, the MSU soccer team can play and practice there, and the university can host high school events as well.

The new field also represents more than just a physical upgrade for MSU it's also a psychological change. If MSU is to succeed at the Division II level, everyone at the university players, coaches, staff, professors and student body must embrace the change. MSU and its supporters must think, talk and act like representatives of a Division II school, and the stadium project is a big part of that.

The stadium project, coupled with the upgrades in Swain Hall, the coming student wellness center and other on-going athletic and academic changes, have put MSU on the path needed to be successful at the next level.