East Central University mascot Roary the Tiger (left) and the Ada High School Cougar mascot (right) pose with ECU President John R. Hargrave, Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby (center) and Ada Schools Superintendent Mike Anderson during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the Chickasaw Plaza at Koi Ishto Stadium on Friday.

Surrounded by bands, cheerleaders, pom squads and supporters, East Central University officially opened the new Chickasaw Plaza Friday with a ribbon cutting and fanfare termed “A House United” at Koi Ishto Stadium.

Representatives from ECU, Ada High School and the Chickasaw Nation, including Gov. Bill Anoatubby, were on hand for the christening of the plaza.

“It’s great to see how we unite behind a common cause,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “ECU needed this facility. Koi Ishto (Stadium) is important for a lot of reasons. Countless people learned diligence and teamwork here.”

The $2 million foot facility, located on the northwest corner, will now serve as the only entrance into the football stadium for ECU games and will feature two ticket booths flanking the wide gate. Inside the gate, is a new concession stand, spirit shop and restrooms, not only for men and women but a family room.

“This is an exciting time to open this plaza. It brings a fantastic cosmetic look to the stadium and it will serve as a more fan-friendly entrance,” said Dr. Jeff Williams, ECU director of athletics. “Additionally, the plaza should relieve congestion in and around the concession stand and restroom areas during games.”

Funding for the plaza included $1 million from the Chickasaw Nation and $1 million funded by ECU and borrowed under the real property master lease program.

“We could not pull this off without the partnerships here today, being able to collaborate with the university and the Chickasaw Nation” said Ada Schools Superintendent Mike Anderson. “They were very responsible for what we were able to accomplish.”

The groundbreaking for the 3,000-foot facility took place back on Sept. 19, 2015. Architects for the plaza came from AIP (Architects in Partnership) out of Norman and it was constructed by Crossland Construction Company, which has an Oklahoma City office and is headquartered out of Columbus, Ohio.

“Our partnership with the Chickasaw Nation goes way back and it’s nice to bestow this name on the plaza,” said ECU President John R. Hargrave.

Ada High School was scheduled to play at home Friday night while ECU conducts its home opener against Henderson State on Saturday night.

NOTE: Koi Ishto means “Big Cat” in the Chickasaw language, which serves the nicknames for the two schools utilizing the facility – the ECU Tigers and Ada Cougars.


For Immediate Release: 

Contact: Brian Johnson or Amy Ford

                          East Central University Communications and Marketing

                          580-559-5650 or 405-812-1428 (cell)