Says Project will Create Transformational Regional Sports Facility To Serve University, Greater Mankato Region, All of Southern Minnesota
Senator Nick Frentz (DFL-North Mankato)said today that he is seeking $20 million in state funding to help Minnesota State University, Mankato to replace 60-year-old Blakeslee Stadium with a “transformational” new regional sports facility that will serve not only the University and the Greater Mankato area, but will also have an outsized impact on the southern Minnesota economy.
On Thursday, Senator Frentz introduced a measure to appropriate the funds, which, combined with other funding already being raised by the University, would allow the school to move forward on the new 6,500-seat venue that could expand up to 8,000 seats for concerts and other events.
“This project to build a regional sports facility will be a game-changer for the university, communities across the region, and the entire southern Minnesota economy. It will provide not only a premier venue for the Mavericks’ nationally-ranked teams for football and women’s soccer but also its marching band and many other activities and intramurals,” said Senator Frentz. “The impact will also be felt well beyond the University, by providing high schools in Mankato and across the region a place to play important football, soccer, and lacrosse games. This is money well spent that will come back many-fold to the school, the region, and the state of Minnesota.”
“Blakeslee Stadium is rich with history,” said Governor Tim Walz, a former Mankato school teacher who represented the region in Congress for 12 years. “By building a new stadium, we begin a new chapter at Minnesota State Mankato.”
“We know we’ve needed to replace Blakeslee Stadium for many years, but we have a bigger vision for what a replacement facility could offer our region,” said Minnesota State Mankato President Edward Inch.“We anticipate building a facility that not only will serve multiple sports throughout our communities but one that will also serve as a venue for concerts and a myriad of other special events we hope to bring to greater Mankato. We are looking to raise private funds in addition to state support to help build this facility. It will be the single-largest fundraising project in University history. We are very grateful for the support of local leaders, including state Sen. Nick Frentz, on this project.”
“Investments at Minnesota State University, Mankato have a direct positive impact on the regional economy,” said Jessica Beyer, President & CEO, Greater Mankato Growth.“Reimagining Blakeslee Stadium and building a transformational outdoor regional sports facility that complements existing regional facilities and plans will further establish Greater Mankato as a first-class sports tourism and entertainment destination. In addition to enhancing the university campus, this facility will contribute to the vitality of Greater Minnesota with an incredible asset that will drive economic growth as well as provide a needed amenity for a multitude of community and regional uses.”
Blakeslee Stadium, which opened in 1962, has a proud history, and it played host to the Minnesota Vikings’ NFL training camps for more than five decades until 2017. But the new facility will elevate the school, its sports teams and be a destination venue for the entire region, Senator Frentz said.