A staple of Sam Houston State Athletics is set to get a facelift starting next month.
The article learned that the Ron Mafrige Field House – which houses the Bearkats athletic department and individual sports programs such as football and track and field, as well as support spaces for equipment, sports medicine, improving learning and the like – will begin a long-awaited renovation in November.
The project will focus on the complete renovation of the interior of the building, with improvements ranging from modernized locker rooms to improved workspace for training, sports medicine, rehabilitation and other department personnel. The renovation will also provide an all-new look to the exterior of the clubhouse, featuring SHSU’s new athletics branding.
“The bottom line is that we wanted to have a building that we’re proud of because we live in it every day,” said Sam Houston State AD Bobby Williams. “It’s also key from a recruiting perspective, just giving us more space. Bigger meeting rooms, bigger locker rooms, bigger training room. Then you upgrade everything from the equipment, learning improvement centers, nutrition centers and better office technology.
“The thing I’m probably most proud of is that we’re going to have a central entrance for the building, and when you walk in, it’s going to capture our success and our history. … There’s so much going for us to help.”
Ron Mafrige Field House has undergone several minor renovations since it was built in 1986. However, it was determined that a major overhaul was required in order to accommodate the building’s aging infrastructure and provide competitive facilities for recruiting, staff performance and retention.
“We started the master plan 15 years ago, and through all of our renovations, we had five or six different renders that we were trying to accomplish. What really helped us was when Carlos Hernandez, our vice -president of finance, brought us together to renovate the (Johnson) Coliseum,” added Williams. “We learned a lot during this process about how you can take an existing facility and clean it all up, reallocate the space, rebuild it and modernize it all.
“We learned a lot during that and kind of shifted gears on what we were trying to do at Mafrige. So that’s what we’re doing. We’re removing everything, reallocating space and rebuilding and modernizing to use every space. that we have in this building.”
A design proposal that was approved in August by the Texas State University System Board of Regents says the project is expected to be completed in July 2021, with an estimated cost of $11,667,000.
“I think it’s going to lift our spirits for all of us to have something fresh after being in this building for so long,” Williams said. “We will have challenges playing football and athletics in the spring because we are losing space in the locker rooms, so we will have to tackle that with temporary changing rooms, showers and things like that, but it is really exciting.
“It’s a bit bittersweet because I have so many memories in this building for over 30 years, but I’m excited to be back here in July with something new and exciting.”
Here are some renders of the Ron Mafrige Field House renovation, courtesy of PBK Sports.