Plaster Center delivers multi-million-dollar economic impact for region 

  Thursday, March 22, 2018 2:00 AM
  Milestones, News

Pittsburg, KS

Plaster Center delivers multi-million-dollar economic impact for region 

This year’s events proved to be unforgettable for two reasons: the Gorilla men earning a National Championship, and the multi-million economic benefit to the community.  

According to the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the three-day event, which attracted thousands of competitors and spectators to Pittsburg, had a $2.1 million economic impact on the region. When combined with the NAIA National Championships, which occurred the week prior, the total economic impact on the region exceeded $4.5 million. 

“A $4.5 million economic impact over a two-week period is incredible,” said Devin Gorman, executive director of the CCCVB. “We’ve heard from many local business owners who reported increased traffic, and more important, increased sales.”  

Hampton Inn & Suites General Manager Matt Neal said it’s been a spring he won’t soon forget.  

“Our occupancy was solid,” Neal said. “But more than that, the excitement these teams brought with them was incredible. Not only did it help our revenue, but the energy level in the hotel that weekend was fantastic.”  

It wasn't’t just the hospitality industry which experienced the excitement of the national championships. The retail industry also benefited, including Ron’s Supermarket. 

“Every week we noticed more and more foot traffic,” said Manager Tim Rhodes. “There were multiple times we had teams come in together, and we saw a lot of parents who were supporting their schools. If we saw an increase in traffic, I’m sure a lot of other businesses did as well. It was great for Pittsburg.”  

In all, Pittsburg State hosted eight straight weekends of track & field events at the Plaster Center during the first quarter of 2018. That type of effort can put a strain on university staffing, but Track and Field Head Coach Russ Jewett said everyone came together to make certain the events were a success. 

“It really takes a small army to pull these things off,” said Jewett. “I’m always impressed by the number of community volunteers and alumni who join together with university staff to make certain these student athletes and spectators enjoy a championship experience.” 

The 2018 indoor track and field season may now be over, but businesses in the region have already circled February and March of 2019 on their calendar.   

“If I could have it my way I would have track through the entire year,” said Hampton Inn Sales Manager, Ginger Cawley. “These events have been outstanding for our community in building economic stability. We’re excited to have the NCAA back again next year and to see the type of traffic the other competitions will deliver.”  

Pittsburg State University will again host the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Robert W. Plaster Center on March 8-9, 2019.