New stadium on horizon for Cowboy baseball

16 February 2018

A few blocks west of Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, at the corner of Washington Street and McElroy Road, lies an empty gravel lot.

It sits north of the newly constructed Michael and Anne Greenwood Tennis Center, adjacent to the Oklahoma State Track & Field Complex and south of Stillwater’s Will Rogers Elementary School.

Recently retired from its role as the main overflow parking lot for Oklahoma State University students, faculty and visitors, the gravel lot sits lifeless, waiting for an announcement.

Meanwhile, at Allie P., the OSU baseball team prepares for the quickly approaching 2018 season, its 38th at the aging venue.

Built in 1981, Allie P. has seen dozens of talented Cowboy players walk its halls, including Robin Ventura, Pete Incaviglia and OSU coach Josh Holliday.

But if those walls could talk, you can’t help but believe they’d beg for an upgrade.

Although Allie P. is the fifth-oldest ballpark among Big 12 schools, it's the oldest to have not undergone a major renovation to the main stadium complex.

The announcement for a new ballpark from OSU Athletic Director Mike Holder could come sooner rather than later, Holliday said.

“We’ve had a really aggressive position on our stadium for a long time,” Holliday said. “It’s a huge project. It’s an exciting project, and we’re getting very close to having, I think, the funds that Coach Holder and administration feels necessary to make that project come to life.”

The push for a new baseball stadium arose in the decade following the turn of the century as schools around the country began upgrading with state-of-the-art baseball facilities, building bigger and better.

Many believe had the stock market disaster of 2008 not drained millions of dollars from OSU’s athletics fund, a new ballpark would have already been built.

But with the recent success of the program with Holliday at the helm, with a 2016 trip to the College World Series and a 2017 Big 12 Championship title highlighting OSU's accomplishments, the demand for a new stadium has only escalated.

Now, with the completion of the Greenwood Tennis Center and the Sherman E. Smith Training Center and the near-completion of the new Cowgirl Soccer Complex, it's inevitable a new baseball stadium is the athletic department’s currently-endorsed project.

“I don’t have any exact dates on it or anything, but that’s something that (Holder) works at every single day,” Holliday said. “I really appreciate how important it is to him and the school that we have a new stadium.

“We’re close. When you see what it’s going to look like and the type of project it is, it’s pretty magnificent. It’s not small.”

Holder has stated in the past that the estimated cost of the new ballpark is about $40 million, with the price of naming rights set at $20 million.

The university spent about $10 million to acquire the future site: the gravel lot at the intersection of Washington Street and McElroy Road, where construction will begin once sufficient funds are obtained.

The new stadium is expected to house 4,000 permanent seats, about 200 more than Allie P., along with berm seating along the outfield walls for an additional 3,000 spectators.

“All of it’s great,” Holliday said. “The amenities for press, the amenities for fans, the training opportunities for players, the atmosphere, all the things that go into designing something that everybody will find to be fantastic.”

Holliday went on to explain the thought process of designing the ballpark was to build something that could house the team for the next 100 years and stand the test of time.

“We didn’t cut any corners,” Holliday said. “We’re looking at something that will be pretty special and unique.”

For now, though, OSU prepares for Tuesday's home opener at the historic venue that has housed the Cowboys for decades, while Holder secures the funds necessary to launch the project for the new ballpark.

Until then, the gravel lot at the corner of Washington and McElroy remains lifeless, as it awaits an announcement to name it the new home of Cowboy baseball.