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Greg Hansen joined the Northwest staff in January as assistant vice president of student affairs for campus recreation and is shaping plans for how the facility will be used. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Greg Hansen joined the Northwest staff in January as assistant vice president of student affairs for campus recreation and is shaping plans for how the facility will be used. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

April 26, 2018

Hughes Fieldhouse taking shape, plans advancing with alumnus' return

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This story appears in the spring 2018 edition of the Northwest Alumni Magazine. To access more stories and view the magazine in its entirety online, click here.

About the Hughes Fieldhouse

Northwest broke ground June 15 for the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse, a 137,250 square-foot, $20 million facility designed to serve a multitude of social, recreational and economic needs for the University and region.

Donors already have committed $13.5 million to the project through donations and pledges secured by the Northwest Foundation. Leading support for the project is provided by the Founding 50 – a group of donors contributing $50,000 or more to the project – with the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Family Foundation, the Mel and Valorie Booth Family, the city of Maryville and Nodaway Valley Bank working as “team captains” of the group. Additional sources, including the University and students, are contributing to the project, while hundreds of alumni and friends have made gifts of all sizes.

The facility is expected to enhance student engagement and create more opportunities for intramurals and recreation on campus as well as large University events such as commencement ceremonies, concerts or Career Day. Student organizations and performance groups, such as the Bearcat Marching Band, will use the facility for activities when inclement weather sets in. Bearcat athletics teams are expected benefit from the facility’s indoor flooring system, 90-yard practice turf and 300-meter indoor competition track.

In addition to its recreational features, the facility is being constructed according to modern sustainability standards and will include exhibition space, spectator seating and tiered meeting rooms.

While funding for the project is coming from multiple sources, including a significant percentage from donors, Maryville voters approving a transient guest tax to support the operation is the facility. The city has since formed a tourism committee charged with developing ways to use revenues from the tax and maximize the center for community events such as trade shows, conferences, school functions and recreational activities.

When complete, the Hughes Fieldhouse is expected to provide an additional economic impact of $23.8 million, the equivalent of creating 946 new jobs, for the region. That comes as an addition to the $617.5 million Northwest generates in added regional income.

Hughes Fieldhouse Fun facts

  • 6,981,811,200 cubic inches = 2,792,724,480 golf balls or 769,600 square bales of hay
  • 1,754,000 lbs. of steel = 7,016,000 quarter pounder hamburgers or 439 cars
  • 162,000 square feet of metal siding and roofing = nearly enough to cover the grass in Arrowhead Stadium, twice
  • 66,000 linear feet of conduit = stacking the Empire State Building 53 times
  • 160,000 linear feet of wire = 12 laps at Talladega Motor Speedway

Show your pride on the Walk of Champions

Be a permanent part of Northwest’s future by purchasing a personalized brick or paver lining the Walk of Champions to the entrance of the Hughes Fieldhouse. Honor a classmate, friend, family member, professor or campus organization who made a difference in your life.

To be a part of this historic opportunity, order your brick or paver today and create your individual message by visiting or calling 660.562.1248.

As the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse takes shape on the west side of the Northwest Missouri State University campus, the uses, programming and potential for the facility also are coming into view with the arrival of a Northwest alumnus charged with leading the University’s campus recreation.

Greg Hansen, joined the Northwest staff in January as assistant vice president of student affairs for campus recreation. Having earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University, he returns with more than 26 years of experience in managing recreation programs and facilities in campus and community settings.

“His experience is perfect to uplift the campus recreation department at Northwest,” Northwest Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Matt Baker said. “The Hughes Fieldhouse is designed to support both our campus and the community, and Greg’s experience with campus and community recreation is ideal to create a partnership that supports both goals.” 

Hansen, a native of Exira, Iowa, graduated from Northwest in 1988 with his bachelor’s degree in physical education for K-12. He returned to Northwest that fall as a graduate assistant and completed his master's degree in athletic administration and education in 1991.

As a Northwest student, Hansen already was building his résumé. On the suggestion of the late Dr. Jim Herauf, a faculty member in Northwest’s physical education department, Hansen took on part-time duties in the North Nodaway R-VI School District as an elementary physical education teacher, assistant football coach, assistant basketball coach and girls track coach. In his second year there, the high school football team won the 8-man state championship. 

Additionally, he taught weight training and worked with the intramurals program at Northwest as a graduate assistant.

“So I would teach weight training at 8 o’clock, run to Pickering from 10 to 2, teach elementary P.E., then venture up to Hopkins to coach football and back at 6 to work intramurals or take a grad class,” he said. “I did that for two years.”

After completing his graduate degree, Hansen became the first intramural coordinator at Southeast Missouri State University as that institution was in the midst of restructuring its campus recreation program to align more closely with student affairs. Hansen oversaw intramural facilities, including the aquatic and fitness centers. He also gained valuable experience as a business manager and a director as well as in working with community organizations that wanted to use the facilities. 

In 2000, Hansen accepted the role as the director and public information officer at the North Kansas City Community Center while the facility was under construction. In addition to overseeing the remaining construction work, Hansen established the facility’s staffing, policies and procedures from a desk in a construction trailer.

The opportunity also helped Hansen, who spent 14 years at the North Kansas City center, reconnect with Northwest. He worked with student interns involved with the center’s programs and services. He collaborated with the Northwest Alumni Association on events. The Bearcat men’s basketball team also practiced in the building in preparation for the MIAA conference tournament. And when Northwest began conversations about its Robert and Virginia Foster Fitness Center, Rob Veasey, Northwest’s director of fitness and informal recreation, visited Hansen to gather advice from his experiences at the North Kansas City center.

“Anything I could do to help Northwest and give back has always been at my heart,” said Hansen, who most recently was superintendent of recreation for the city of West Des Moines, Iowa, during the last four years.

Hansen began seriously considering a return to Northwest during a visit day two years ago with his daughter, Maddie. She will attend Northwest next year as an education major, and Hansen seized the opportunity to return when the role to oversee campus recreation became available.

“Seeing all of the people I knew, looking at the facilities, promotion, marketing, I was like, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be special to come back here?’” Hansen said. “It caught my eye on the tour that day. So I kind of just kept watching.”

As he did at the North Kansas City Community Center, Hansen has quickly integrated himself in the construction process at the Hughes Fieldhouse and planning for the facility. He also joined the city of Maryville’s Tourism Committee, lending a critical voice to the planning, scheduling and recruiting of events for the region.

“What drives me to come to work here every day is the excitement and the fulfillment of when those people will finally step in the building, to step back myself and see the smile on their faces and provide a quality of life to everyone. It excites me that it was not just thought of as an athletic facility, that it is for the students, for the community, for the region.”

Similar to Hansen’s arrival at Southeast Missouri State, Northwest recently restructured its campus recreation program under the Office of Student Affairs. Hansen now oversees a suite of campus recreation programs and facilities that include not only the Hughes Fieldhouse but the Student Recreation Center, the Foster Fitness Center and Mozingo Outdoor Education Recreation Area (MOERA).

“It provides clear leadership, the ability to better use our resources, serve our students, offer quality programs and services,” Hansen said. “We will probably be in a unique position in that we will be working campus recreation with the community more now than ever before in the history of the University.”

Northwest is focused on four goals for the center – promoting health, wellness and engaged programming for Northwest’s students, faculty and staff as well as the broader community; providing a competitive advantage relative to Northwest’s intercollegiate athletics teams and overall programming; enhancing Northwest’s ability to recruit, retain and engage students; and providing enhanced community partnership opportunities and economic development outcomes.

In alignment with those goals, Hansen brings a diverse set of experiences to Northwest that include not just working at a university but work for municipalities that involved collaboration with corporations and establishing relationships to foster community involvement.

“He has brought an innovative spirit and collaborative mindset to Northwest, which will continue to uplift the student recreation experience,” Baker said. “Because he went to school here, then left to have professional experiences elsewhere, he knows the atmosphere and goals of Northwest and brings relevant professional experience.”

Already some unique ideas are forming for the Hughes Fieldhouse. In addition to providing space for long-standing intramural programs, such as flag football, the facility could host kickball tournaments. Hansen wonders if a drone obstacle course or eSports could be fielded inside the facility. And the competition can last well into the night within the safe, lighted space.

“Those opportunities are just going to keep coming at us,” Hansen said.

Hansen also is excited about the impact the Hughes Fieldhouse will have for clubs and space usage across the campus.

“There’s always been an issue or a challenge of finding a space that fits the students’ schedule,” Hansen said. “Now that we have Hughes, that can be done. If it’s not in Hughes, it opens up things that maybe go into Hughes or other facilities on campus that we can utilize. Things will be moving there, and that will free up space for other places on campus. So we need to be very conscious of having the right events in the right spaces.”

While Northwest plans to open the facility when students arrive in August to begin the fall trimester, a dedication and grand opening are planned for Homecoming weekend in October.  The Hughes Fieldhouse will host its first major sporting events with four indoor track and field scheduled next winter, including the MIAA conference championship meet Feb. 22-24.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215