Signature Benches

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MSU Students Construct Benches for Cornerstone Sports Complex

(STARKVILLE, Miss.) Oct. 10, 2022 – For the second year in a row, students in Mississippi State University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Design program are constructing park benches for Starkville Parks & Recreation (“Starkville Parks”). However, this semester’s project is a bit more special than years past. As Starkville Parks prepares to open Cornerstone Sports Complex, these MSU students will have the opportunity to showcase their work in front of a close-knit community and a regional audience brought in by the growing sports tourism industry. Starkville Park’s teammates toured MSU’s workspaces in September and were highly impressed and excited.


“Seeing the creative thoughts and efforts put forth towards creating these benches shows how passionate each of the students is about their craft,” said Brenna Betts, executive administrator at Starkville Parks & Recreation. "Each bench has its own personality, and they align with our team's vision for this organization." 


Before starting the projects, students toured Cornerstone and used their observations to develop their building plans. This is the case for students like Kasey Losik, an architecture building construction student whose group is creating a bench with a built-in shade structure to support guests visiting Cornerstone’s open-sky design. Losik told team members from Starkville Parks & Recreation that their group considered the anatomy of the human body and environmental factors to provide a bench that can be useful throughout all phases of the day regardless of the sun's position.


Other students used their experience playing little league sports to provide benches that would support local and traveling teams’ needs.


“Our modular bench allows for different layouts that will easily situate an entire team and coaches,” said Kyla Barton, an architecture student. “All of our group members grew up around sports leagues and tournaments, and we wanted a design based on a universal need from many coaches and parents.”


Like Barton’s design, several of the benches are modular, allowing for different layouts and styles to fit the needs of a diverse audience. Some offer spaces that can double as a table, while others boast a 360-degree view of the entire complex, benefiting tournament play and teams who want to keep an eye on the competition. Along with the intricate styles of benches, students also take pride in the material and techniques used, which will serve Starkville Parks & Recreation with longevity in mind.


As construction progresses, several students anticipate Cornerstone Sports Complex’s grand opening and the opportunity to see their work in the park. Among the most excited to complete this project is Ethan Bounds. Ethan is a building construction science major from Caledonia, MS, a small town located less than one hour from Cornerstone Sports Complex. When asked about his thoughts on contributing to a construction project so close to his hometown, he smiled and replied, “Hopefully, I can show my kids one day.”


Cornerstone Sports Complex is set to open for its inaugural baseball and softball season in March 2023.





Mississippi State University is a national doctoral degree-granting university offering a wide range of educational experiences for learning and growth to a diverse student body of approximately 23,000 students. Among the National Science Foundation’s Top 100 research universities, MSU provides access and opportunity to students from all 50 states and 86 countries. As a land-grant institution, MSU is committed to its comprehensive research university mission, addressing complex local and global issues with innovative ideas and solutions.