Southern Illinois University is pitching a $4.9-million renovation of Abe Martin Field — Ancient Abe, as it’s known locally — that would add a new grandstand and take out some bleachers that came from the original Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis.
Abe Martin Field is the oldest ballpark in the Midwest Missouri Valley Conference, and in an era where facilities are a prime selling point in recruiting, it’s not exactly knocking the socks off potential students. So an upgrade is needed, particularly in a conference that features some pretty good ballparks in Omaha (TD Ameritrade Park, where Creighton plays) and Wichita.
The proposed ballpark overhaul calls for a new grandstand, lights, press box and artificial-turf surface. If fundraising goes well, the ballpark renovations could be completed for the 2013 season.
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