The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approved an $18 million renovation plan for the Hokies’ baseball stadium, English Field at Union Park.
The plan, approved Monday and announced by Virginia Tech’s athletic department on Tuesday morning, calls for the renovations – a “major upgrade and improvements – to be completed in time for the 2018 season, which will also be the 125th baseball season at the school.
The Hokies will continue to play at the current facility throughout the construction in the 2017 season, the school announced.
Union Bank & Trust donated $3.5 million in March to kickoff the fund-raising effort, according to Tech, which also said financing for the renovations will include a combination of donations and “some debt service.”
“The design for Union Park retains the unique fan-friendly terrace seating while building a state-of-the-art stadium that will be a draw for the community,” Billy Beale, CEO of Union Bank & Trust said in a press release. “The new facility will provide a fantastic first impression of Virginia Tech through the new interchange and I’m excited that Union will be associated with it.”
Late this fall, according to Tech, the current press box and permanent stands at the ballpark will be razed preparation for the improvements will begin. Actual construction on the stands and press box will begin following the completion of the 2017 season.
“We are excited to be able to begin on this tremendous project,” Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock said. “Through our partnership with our good friends at Union Bank & Trust, we will be able to build a baseball facility that will allow us to compete at the highest level. It will also allow us to present a fan experience that will enrich not only our baseball team, but our entire athletics program. When completed, this park will serve as a great entrance to our campus and our overall facilities.”
The main seating area will be reconstructed and moved closer to home plate, while a new seating area is expected to increase capacity by 1,500, in addition to the left-field terrace seating.
Construction plans provide for a club behind the first base (visitors) dugout.
Terrace seating down the left field line will remain.
The new press box tower structure will feature improvements to accommodate fans, the media, and athletics staff, Tech said. The ground level will include enhanced concessions, marketing, and restroom facilities. The second floor will house a working press box, ample television and radio broadcast facilities, and game operations space, along with four suites.
Also part of the construction will be a social area down the right field line for functions in conjunction with games. A new video board will replace the current scoreboard in right field to further the enhancements.
Another major improvement, according to Tech, will be the construction of a clubhouse in the ground floor of the Jim Weaver Baseball Hitting Facility, past the left-field foul pole. The space, currently used for storage, will be redone with a locker room and player lounge, along with a team room, equipment room, and a video room for players and coaches to do individual skills review.
Tech also announced the Board approved the building of a new hitting facility for the Hokies softball program, as well improvements to the track and field team's Rector Field House.
The softball facility, which will be attached to Rector Field House and immediately adjacent to the Tech Softball Park, will provide the Hokies with an indoor infield for practice during inclement weather, along with four cages for hitting and pitching practice.
“The softball hitting facility will be a tremendous boost to our program,” Babcock said. “The new structure will serve this program in a large number of ways, 365 days a year. This addition advances our goals of providing our student-athletes and programs with the finest facilities.”
The one-story building also will feature two coaches rooms, an equipment room, a team room, a film room, a mudroom, and team facilities. The facility will be available to the program year-round for practice, team events, and game-day necessities. The new facility will encompass more than 16,000 square feet.
Rector Field House will also undergo multiple enhancements, including the construction of a throws area.
There will be several major areas of improvements, but the largest and most visible will be the construction of an indoor throws area. The addition, on the southwest corner of the building, will feature two throws areas, one for weight throw and one for shot put. The area will feature fluid seating, to allow spectators to view multiple events in the arena. The addition will be connected to the main arena and will be used for both practice and competition.
Source : richmond.com