Work In Progress Construction updates.
» State approves $10.2 million upgrades to CCU baseball and softball stadium
The Charles L. Watson Baseball Stadium and the softball field will be undergoing major renovations over the next two years. The South Carolina Budget and Control Board approved Coastal Carolina’s $10.2 million project to revamp both stadiums.
The project was made possible by a large gift from Tami Springs-Brooks. She is the widow of Bob Brooks, the major patron for CCU’s football program and the building of Brooks Stadium, and her contribution, although the dollar amount has not been publicized, was the lead gift. In recognition of her gift, CCU's newly designated athletic district will be named the Springs Brooks Athletic Complex.
Michael Keeshan & Associates of Greenville, along with Populous of Kansas City, Mo., is designing the new stadiums. The 30,000-square-foot baseball stadium and 9,000-square-foot softball stadium will include new clubhouses, coaching offices, underground locker rooms and video rooms.
“These improvements will help our program out in a big way,” said Kory Hayden, third-base player for the CCU softball team. “This gives us the resources we need to be the absolute best team we can be.”
Fans will benefit from new concession areas, public restrooms, vendor and merchandising areas, and new viewing areas. Both stadiums will increase their fan capacity; the softball stadium will have 500 permanent seats (currently 300) and viewing areas along the outfield, and the baseball stadium will have 2,500 permanent seats (currently 850) with viewing areas along the left and right field lines, increasing the overall capacity to between 5,000 and 6,000 fans.
“Both stadiums will have a totally different fan experience than what we have had in the past,” said Rein Mungo, director of university projects and planning. “It will certainly be a fan-friendly atmosphere.”
“We are blessed to have a generous supporter such as Tami Springs-Brooks,” said Hunter Yuracheck, CCU athletic director. “Her lead gift will allow us to build a first-class facility and set us apart from other programs on a national level.”
Now that the project has received the state’s permission, the architect has started working on the design drawings to be submitted to the programming committee. This group will note changes and potential code issues before the architect can design the construction documents. These plans and documents will then be submitted to the Office of State Engineer for approval. Once the office gives the nod, construction can begin.
“Both projects are expected to be complete in January 2014,” said Mark Avant, project manager for these upgrades as well as the primary project manager for the new hitting facility, which opened in May 2011. “Both areas are in dire need of new facilities in order to compete in [Division I], and the renovations are needed for the students, parents and all fans for a better baseball experience.”
Construction is scheduled to run through the 2013 baseball and softball seasons. Games are expected to be played at other local fields; baseball home games may be held at BB&T Coastal Field, and softball games are likely to be played at The Market Common and Carolina Forest High School. But come 2014, both squads will be practicing and playing in some of the best facilities in the country, which will potentially benefit Coastal athletics in recruiting and revenue—more seats and better amenities lead to more ticket sales and happier Chanticleer fans.
“Enhancing our facility allows us to compete with top-level programs for recruiting the best athletes,” said Kelley Green, CCU head softball coach. “The project really shows that the university is committed to being the best. That kind of support means so much to our student athletes and coaches.”