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The UM System Board of Curators unanimously approved the naming of MU football's new indoor practice facility in a special meeting Thursday.

Stephens Indoor Facility, named after alumni and donors Brad and Rachel Stephens, is a $33.4 million project that was approved for construction by the board in May. It is set to open in the summer of 2023, later than originally announced. It will be located adjacent to the south end zone facility off Providence Road. 

With the construction of the full-size facility, MU athletes can engage in year-round preparation and training, MU athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois said.

"It will have a huge impact, not only in training and preparation but also with recruiting. We expect that the dividends will be immense, and it provides us an opportunity to continue with our championship expectations," Reed-Francois said.

According to meeting documents, Stephens Practice Facility's naming is in recognition of the couple's "commitment of both cash and in-kind contributions" to the university. Specific information about any donations to the Stephens Practice Facility project was not discussed.

Brad Stephens graduated with a business administration degree in 1997 and has spent two decades working in the finance industry. He currently serves as portfolio manager at Six Columns Capital, his recently founded investment company.

Rachel Cohen Stephens, class of 1998, is an alum of the Missouri School of Journalism. She's served on the school's "For All We Call Mizzou" fundraising committee, the Jefferson Club Board of Trustees and the Mizzou Alumni Association board of directors. Currently, she sits on the board of directors of Make-A-Wish North Texas and works in the marketing industry.

The Stephens were actively involved on the MU campus as members of Greek life and other student organizations.

"As graduates from the 1990s, I think it's especially important for us to note that they bring a new generation of key donors to the forefront of Mizzou giving," curator Robin Wenneker said.

The Stephens Indoor Facility will feature a full-length football field with run-off areas on both end zones and sidelines for player safety. Missouri’s current indoor practice facility, Devine Pavilion, houses only a 70-yard field.

An upper mezzanine viewing area and expanded game-day facilities allowing for VIP indoor tailgating experiences also will be included. 

The facility was funded in large part by direct donations to the Missouri athletic department, as stipulated in the facility’s approval. A large chunk of money for the project came in two separate $10 million anonymous donations in December and January. 

This article originally ran on columbiamissourian.com.

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