After years of requesting a new practice facility, the Ole Miss band is now marching on its new $5.4 million practice field — a replica of Hollingsworth Field, the playing surface at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
The practice field for the band, known as the Pride of the South, features drainage structures and lights, a director’s tower, a fence, a storage building, and proper field access. Construction began in August 2022 and was completed within a year.
Ole Miss Chancellor Glenn Boyce on Tuesday dedicated the facility with donors, university leaders, and band members on hand.
“Thanks to the dedicated donors and supporters who inspired this world-class practice field, we’re excited to usher in a new era for our 300-plus talented band members who work hard every day to contribute to the university’s spirit and pride,” Boyce said.
“We’re committed to supporting and fostering the success of all of our students, and this new field enhances the meaningful opportunities and experiences that our students gain as members of the Pride of The South. They deserve this investment in them.”
The university’s commitment to providing the long-overdue new practice surface for the band was paired with major gifts to the project — which totaled $330,000.
Nancy Maria Balach, chair of the Department of Music, believes the field will be the nation’s best when the whole project and accompanying landscaping are completed, adding to the university’s reputation as being an excellent place to study music education.
“The identity of the Pride of the South is outward-facing,” Balach said. “To now have a field that facilitates that greatness is profound. The support means so much to our department and to the legacy of the Pride of the South. It actually puts the ‘pride’ in the Pride of the South.”
The last phase of the construction — an observation deck and landscaping — is in progress. No anticipated completion date has been released as of now.