HUNTINGTON — Like pretty much everything else, progress on the Marshall University baseball stadium is being slowed down thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now is just not the right time to go ask people for money,” said Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick.
The university board of governors athletic committee met Tuesday and reviewed the program statement for the stadium during an executive session.
The initial bids for construction of the project were put out in December and came back higher than what the athletic department was comfortable with — about $28 million. The original estimate was between $18 million and $20 million.
The former industrial site along 5th Avenue in Huntington needs water and sewer lines, along with some utility lines that will need to be relocated. The athletic department is working to address those issues itself before putting the project back out to bid, which they hoped would be this spring.
Committee chairman Patrick Ferrell said despite the slowdown and the unknowns presented by the pandemic, the board was still committed to the stadium.
Hamrick said they will slow down for the next 30 or so days.
Overall, though, fundraising for the stadium is going well, he said.
“We still have a long way to go,” he said. “We still have a lot of people to see. People are very excited. We have at least two seven-figure gifts that have been committed so far, and we think there are more out there.”
The planned 3,000-seat stadium, which can be expanded to 3,500 seats for postseason play, will feature three levels, artificial turf, two full-size batting cages, three locker rooms, a team lounge, an indoor and outdoor club with box suites, and an open and transparent concourse. It is designed by AECOM, an infrastructure firm, which also designed the Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex and the Chris Cline Indoor Athletic Facility.
The stadium will be in the 2400 block of 5th Avenue, a former Flint Group Pigments property.
The athletic committee also discussed the athletic department’s fiscal year 2021 budget, which includes a 3.2% increase from last year, or about $970,000. Hamrick said that represents salaries, extra scholarships and increased medical/insurance costs for the athletes.
Despite reporting being under revenue projections for this year at the last meeting, the cancellation of all spring sports due to the pandemic actually helped mitigate some of those losses.
The university’s full budget will be voted on at the next scheduled meeting April 23.
Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.