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University to build 2 new ballparks

Nov. 6, 1998



Most people know about all the construction going on around Baylor's campus. There is the parking garage, the Student Life Center, the Penland extension and the work inside the Hankamer School of Business. While all of this is going on close to the main campus, there are also some things happening on the other side of University Parks Drive.

Construction is in progress for brand new state-of-the-art sports facilities for Baylor's softball and baseball teams. The two ballparks, which will be part of the new Jim and Julie Turner Riverfront Athletic Park, will be among the finest facilities in the nation and are scheduled to open for their first season in the spring of 1999.

The baseball stadium, which has not yet been named, will be built around the current Ferrell Field adjacent to the Ferrell Special Events Center parking lot. The architectural design is intended to give the stadium a retro feel similar to that of the Ballpark in Arlington and is based on Auburn University's Plainsman Park in Birmingham, Ala. The stadium will feature 3,142 chairback seats and 100-1500 general admission bleacher seats. Two-thirds of the chairbacks will be covered by the roof. Also, an elevated grassy hill area will be located down the right field line as a picnic area. The student seating, which will be open to the first 100 Baylor students, is located behind the visitor dugout down the first base line. Other Baylor students will be given seating in the bleacher section.

The softball stadium will be built in the same architectural style as the baseball park and will be similar to the newly-constructed youth complex next to the Ballpark in Arlington. The park will have a grandstand area with 431 chairback seats, and 800 seats will be available in the bleacher area.

Both ballparks will feature player clubhouses with team locker rooms, training and treatment rooms, meeting and interview rooms, indoor batting cages, umpires' locker rooms and coaches' offices. Also, both parks will have modern, air-conditioned press boxes and self-contained novelties and concession areas.

The baseball park, which was originally supposed to be ready for the first home game of the season against the University of Mississippi on Feb. 12, is running slightly behind schedule and will probably be ready by March 1, according to Jim Huey, executive director of athletic development. The first game to be seen at the stadium will likely be March 9 against Creighton University. The softball stadium is scheduled to open shortly after.

Fundraising for the facilities is still under way and is currently about $3 million short of the $8.7 million goal. Personalized chairbacks are still available, ranging from $250 to $500 per seat, depending on location. Also, naming opportunities are available for several different parts of the park.

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