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Missouri State Breaks Ground on JQH Arena

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/missourist_440.mp3

Missouri State University officials broke ground on the new JQH Arena this morning. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

With about two hundred people looking on, Missouri State University officials broke ground on the new JQH Arena this morning.

The arena is being built in the parking lot immediately to the east of Hammons Student Center.

Greg Burris is Vice President of Administrative and Information Services at the university.

The 67 million dollar JQH Arena will have more than 11 thousand seats and 22 private suites. All the suites have been leased.

The university's vice president for advancement Greg Onstot.

The arena's namesake, Springfield businessman John Q. Hammons was at the ceremony today...He has made a commitment to give 30 million dollars to the project.

During his remarks, Hammons reiterated his belief that the university's non-directional name and the hiring of Michael Nietzel as university president means it's time for a new sports complex.

Missouri State University President Michael Nietzel told the crowd at the groundbreaking ceremony that Hammons has had a lot of influence on the arena's design.

The president of the Missouri State Board of Governors says the JQH Arena will benefit all students.

Mike Franks says it's about keeping athletics financially stable.

Today was for Board President Mike Franks. He was student body president when the student initiated a campaign to get Hammons Student Center built.

The arena is scheduled to open in November, 2008, in time for the 2008-2009 basketball season.