TAHLEQUAH — Northeastern State’s athletic landscape, as we know it, is about to change. Sure, football will still be housed at Doc Wadley Stadium, baseball will stay put at Rousey Field, and softball and soccer will be played at the corner of Crafton and Oklahoma.
But change is coming. And there is a good chance you’ve noticed what it is if you’ve been meandering up and down Grand Avenue.
It’s NSU’s new basketball arena — and that’s about all you can call it right now. Naming rights are still up for grabs if you have the proper amount of cash.
Regardless of what the name is, the new digs will flip athletics on its head at NSU.
Nestled beyond the south end zone of Doc Wadley Stadium, the new arena, coupled with the football stadium, is the new greeting point for visitors coming in from the north. It’s what Seminary Hall is on the southern edge of campus.
Perhaps one day it’ll be the main attraction on campus.
“I think Seminary Hall is that building that most people remember when they think of Northeastern State,” said Tony Duckworth, NSU’s athletic director. “But selfishly, as the director of athletics, I hope (the new arena) becomes an iconic building on campus.”
There’s still several months of work left, but the new arena is looking like the crown jewel that the university had hoped for.
Slated to hold 3,100 for basketball contests, the new arena will almost certainly become the envy of the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association. There are more spacious buildings in the league, but few — if any — will match the quality of the RiverHawks’ new home.
The new facility will also house a lot of the athletic staff. Basketball coaches Larry Gipson and Randy Gipson will upgrade to new spacious offices, while Duckworth and others in athletics administration will also occupy space on the south side of the building.