HUNTINGTON — On the heels of the homecoming weekend groundbreaking, the Marshall University Board of Governors on Thursday got a better look at what the school’s future baseball stadium will look like from the architect.
Justin Gaa, senior project designer with AECOM in Kansas City, Missouri, presented renderings of the stadium to the board during its regularly scheduled meeting Thursday. AECOM, an infrastructure firm, also designed the Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex and the Chris Cline Indoor Athletic Facility for Marshall, along with hundreds of other sports complexes across the country, from collegiate to professional.
“Mike (Hamrick) really challenged us to create something state-of-the-art,” Gaa said, referring to Marshall’s athletic director. “He challenged us in a lot of ways.”
The 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.
“As you know, the Division I level is highly competitive,” Gaa said. “This facility is going to be exciting not only as a campus asset for athletics, but a community asset. … On the student-athlete side, we were very mindful of how we used the space, so recruiting students was part of the design process.”
The stadium will house coaches’ offices and training space for athletes, which Gaa said is an effective way to build a ballpark.
The main lobby will move guests through the stadium in a “unique way,” Gaa said, and will be designed to honor legendary Marshall baseball coach Jack Cook.
The ballpark will be located along 5th Avenue just east of Joan C. Edwards Stadium at the site of the former Flint Group Pigments property. The university purchased the land from the Huntington Municipal Development Authority for a total cost of $468,000.
The $22 million stadium, along with the land, is being funded by donations raised by the athletic department.
Athletics still needs to raise about $20 million for the project, which is anticipated to be complete by 2021.
At Thursday’s meeting, board member James Farley encouraged board members to donate to the “Marshall Rises” capital fundraising campaign, which will help fund the stadium and the future College of Business building. The university announced the campaign Saturday during the homecoming football game, encouraging alumni to donate to get the already $100 million raised to $150 million.
“It’s up to alums and people involved to get it done,” Farley said.
Marshall has played baseball at several facilities, including St. Cloud Commons in the city’s West End and George Smailes Field off W.Va. Route 2, 7 miles from campus. The Herd also has played “home” games at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, Linda Epling Stadium in Beckley and high school fields in Kentucky and Ohio.
Construction plans have been finalized and will be advertised in November, with bidding opening Dec. 19.
Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.