Bobby Tomlinson

Bobby Tomlinson
Photo by Russ Houston

What's in a building? Just ask Bobby Tomlinson, MSU's associate athletic director for facilities planning and new construction.

Tomlinson, who has spent 22 years at the university, knows that quality facilities are among the main reasons students choose Mississippi State for higher education. While his focus is directed toward athletic-specific projects, he certainly understands the importance the right combination of classrooms, laboratories, residence halls, and extracurricular space can be to a student's overall experience at MSU.

"It's very exciting to see progress being made not only in the area of athletics, but for the whole university," Tomlinson said when asked about his biggest management project to date, the expansion of Davis Wade Stadium.

The massive undertaking includes the addition of nearly 8,000 seats, connecting the east and west sides into more of an arena-style structure on the stadium's north end.

"Knowing this new facility will help student athletes compete on the field and help prepare them for what's beyond that is very rewarding," said the 1982 MSU alumnus who majored in general business.

A total of $80 million in bonds is being issued for the construction, with funds from the MSU Foundation's "Today, Tomorrow, Forever" initiative augmenting this.

With new building projects and renovations as a constant agenda item for the athletic department, Tomlinson is involved in many other new developments to grow Mississippi State. The latest addition is the (Henry) Mize Pavilion, attached to the south side of Humphrey Coliseum, which is among the largest basketball practice arenas in the Southeastern Conference. Also, the 80,000-sq.-ft. Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex is almost complete and will bring all football operations under one roof.

Other projects include new high intensity lighting to Newell-Grissom Gymnasium, replacement of fencing and a new sound system at Polk-DeMent Stadium, improved practice range and putting green at the MSU Golf Course, resurfaced courts at Pitts Tennis Centre, and a new roof on Humphrey Coliseum.

For Tomlinson, it's definitely a defining moment in his career to see the Mississippi State family going the extra mile to create better experiences for its students. And, after more than two decades of service to the institution, it's still a great time to be a Bulldog.

"I love the people I've been associated with and this university," he said.