HUNTINGTON — The Marshall University Board of Governors on Tuesday gave the final approval needed for the university to purchase land from the Huntington Municipal Development Authority to build a long-sought baseball stadium.
The board made the unanimous decision during a special meeting via conference call. Chairman James Bailes said the special meeting was necessary so the university could dedicate the land Saturday before Marshall’s homecoming football game.
In August, the university entered into a real estate purchase agreement with HMDA for the property along 5th Avenue where the new stadium will sit. The vote Tuesday finalized the purchase and permits MU President Jerome Gilbert to execute the necessary documents to complete the purchase.
The two parcels of land are along the 2300 and 2400 blocks of 5th Avenue. The total cost for the properties is $300,000, plus $168,000 to reimburse HMDA for an environmental consultant.
The funds were privately raised by the MU Athletic Department through the Herd Rises campaign.
The groundbreaking will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the site of the future stadium, the old Flint Group pigments property.
“Saturday will be another crucial step for the future of our baseball program,” said Mike Hamrick, Marshall’s director of athletics, in a press release. “I’m excited to get this very special project underway and encourage all of our loyal fans to step up and help us make this dream a reality.”
Construction on the facility is set to begin in the spring with the official opening scheduled for March 2021.
On hand to participate in the groundbreaking will be Thundering Herd alumni and Major League Baseball all-stars Jeff Montgomery and Rick Reed.
Also taking part in Saturday’s announcement will be Gilbert, Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, Thundering Herd baseball head coach Jeff Waggoner, legendary former Marshall head coach Jack Cook and representatives from stadium architect AECOM.
Marshall football plays Western Kentucky University at 2:30 p.m. The university has promised a “historic” announcement during the first half of the homecoming game.
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