McAndrew reduced to eyesore, construction on pace

By Gus Bode

Saluki Stadium kicked off its second season Saturday, but less than a block away sits the corpse of SIU football’s former home, McAndrew Stadium.

“There’s a plan here, sometimes maybe not everybody sees it because it takes some time to develop, but the intent all along was because the entrance to campus was not what it should have been,” said Phil Gatton, director of Plant and Service Operations. “It’s going to be more of a traditional entrance to campus instead of coming in through the backside of a football stadium.”

Information provided by Phil Gatton Director of Plant and Service Operation – Caleb West | Daily Egyptian


The demolition started in December with the knocking down of the stands, but for the last nine months very little has happened. Now the entrance to campus on Route 51 looks like a mess of torn-up turf and random machinery.

“Well yeah, there’s going to be some growing pains, but people need to stay focused on the overall plan,” said Rod Sievers, university spokesman. “It’s a domino game; one thing has to happen before the next thing does.”

The first domino was the groundbreaking ceremony of Saluki Stadium in March 2009. The destruction of McAndrew had to wait because the track team still needed a place to practice, and without a new facility very little could be done.

“We worked with athletics as far as events scheduled, they had several track events plus the local high schools came in to use it as well,” Gatton said. “(The track team) still uses that area as a practice facility. I know as of last week they were still throwing out there. There’s been a coordination issue between the construction timeline and athletics’ need to use the facility.”

Ground was broken on a new track facility May 23, but Gatton said the stands at McAndrew were dilapidated, falling apart and needed to be torn down before that for safety reasons.

“We just wanted to get it torn down as quick as we can,” Gatton said. “When you got rid of football, there wasn’t really a need for all of those stands because obviously we don’t have as many people watching those events.”

Sievers said after McAndrew is completely torn down they will start building a parking lot in its place. The lot will replace the parking spaces lost by the demolition of the current parking garage by the Student Center that is slated to start in December.


The parking garage is being torn down for a new student services building, which Sievers said will be a ‘one-stop shop’ for students looking for offices like admissions, financial aid and bursar among others.

In addition to the parking lot in place of McAndrew, which Gatton said is scheduled to finish by the end of November, the SIU Board of Trustees hired an architect to do preliminary work on a new alumni services building.

Gatton said there is also the possibility of another building, most likely a new classroom building or research center, but nothing is official until the BOT approves a course of action. This will be done after the architect finishes the preliminary work.

Certainly this will help ease some of the problems the university has had with the retention of students. With all of the offices in one building instead of scattered across campus, this could alleviate some issues students have with the school.

But what about those of us who won’t see this come to fruition? While Gatton said the student services building is scheduled to be finished by the end of the Spring 2012 semester, the rest of the construction could take up to 18 months, so anybody graduating before then won’t see the final product. What we’ll be left with is the image of orange fencing surrounding a bunch of dirt mounds across campus.

But, on the bright side, Gatton said students shouldn’t lose any parking spaces because of this.