Southeast Mo. State kicks off multi-million dollar Houck Field project

A groundbreaking on Tuesday kicked off the multi-million dollar Houck Field renovation project.
Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 3:59 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - With the turn of a shovel, Southeast Missouri State University official began its multi-million dollar renovation of Houck Field.

A groundbreaking for the start of the first phase of the Houck Multiuse Complex was held on Tuesday, September 6.

Leaders at Southeast call it a real game changer. One that will benefit all students, whether they’re athletes or not.

A little more than a year from now, Houck Field will have a new grandstand, seating, concession stand and more. University President Dr. Carlos Vargas called this a monumental day for the University and the Cape Girardeau Community.

“It’s a ton off my back, it absolutely is,” Dr. Vargas said.

That’s how he feels about getting started on much-needed improvements to Houck Field.

“I was here last year when I had to say, ‘You know, we cannot use this stadium the day before the first game of the season,’” he said.

Now, Vargas said the Houck multi-use project will benefit students and student athletes.

“This is a beautiful thing because it’s having not only the athletics, but the academic side of the house really be impacted,” Dr. Vargas said.

Football Coach Tom Matukewicz joined Dr. Vargas in the project’s official kick off.

“When mom and dad are driving down Broadway and they’ve got a 12-year-old kid in there, and they say ‘hey mom, dad what’s that?’...well, that’s SEMO’s football stadium,” Matukewicz said.

He called the work out here a game changer, especially for recruiting.

“Along with the tradition and stuff, but facilities do matter,” the coach said.

That same tradition is what got them to this point

“If we didn’t demonstrate we were worth investing into they wouldn’t,” he said. “We have proven the fact that we can add a lot of value to the institution and our community.”

Dr. Vargas said this project is essential to the university’s growth.

“So now we are really beginning again, it’s a new beginning for the university and it is in the community and really it’s a monumental day,” the president said. “It’s hard to emphasize enough how important this is for the community.”

Coach Matukewicz said they don’t have all of the money raised yet to finish the work at the field, but he’s hoping the community joins the university in getting this project over the finish line.