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Column: New facilities to change the face of IU baseball and softball


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By Caitlin Ursini




It has been a long time coming. The sign has said “Coming Soon” for years now. People inside and outside of IU’s baseball and softball programs having been waiting for construction to start on their new facility.

Although no dirt has been thrown yet, the athletic department took a big step with the release of artist renderings Jan. 27. This picture depicts a new, $19.8 million facility that will replace the current fields on Fee Lane.

The stadium will clearly be an upgrade from the current fields. The construction is supposed to start in the spring, but as many of those waiting know, nothing is set in stone.

These new fields have been talked about in recruiting trips for years. Every year that I have been a student, I’ve heard that next year construction will start, and I’m sure the players are the same way.

The artist drawings make the plans seem more real than they have in recent memory.

The plans were officially approved Aug. 19, 2011. It was a long road to get there. This was a project that was on Athletics Director Fred Glass’ desk since he took the job and was in the works several years before that.

“The new baseball/softball facility will allow both teams to compete at the highest level ... and ultimately delivering on a promise made to both programs several years ago,” Glass said in a press release.

The promise made to these two programs is part of a bigger development for the overall athletic department. It is a change that will alter the athletic venues and
the campus.

Moving the baseball and softball fields is part of the University’s master plan to consolidate the athletic facilities and support the new North Woodlawn Avenue and Alumni Walk corridor.

The Woodlawn Avenue and Alumni Walk corridor are part of the proposed plans to make certain streets pedestrian-only and to make the walk to Memorial Stadium and Assembly Hall safer and easier.

In my four years at IU, I’ve seen new buildings and new classrooms but nothing that seems drastically different. These changes to the athletic complexes in preparation of the pedestrian walkway could be the first.

The baseball and softball teams’ projects are becoming more real because they are part of a bigger plan. This bigger plan will give the teams amazing facilities, but a lot can be said for leaving their current location.

It was always so easy to walk on a Wednesday afternoon for a game. Freshmen could just pop out of their dorms, and students could stop in while waiting for buses home. It was just an easy walk up Fee to catch a game on a warm day.

No, the new facilities aren’t that much farther, but I have a feeling it will put the team a little bit further from the minds of students who casually dropped in for
a game.

When the new fields are done, they will be state of the art. Whether that is for the 2013 season or some other time in the future, I hope the baseball and softball teams receive what they were promised.

Until the move does happen, the freshman women in Briscoe, Foster and the highest floors of McNutt Quad can rest easy. The baseball team will be practicing outside our windows for at least the rest of this season.

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