We have two major universities release information on new ballparks this week, as Grand Canyon University (GCU) and Boston College both unveil plans for facilities set to be completed in 2018.
In Phoenix, GCU’s new ballpark will include covered chairback seats wrapping around the infield and behind home plate as well as grass-berm seating down the first-base side. The first level of the ballpark will feature bowl seating, an enclosed press box with two broadcast booths, team store and concession space. A second level of seating will be added following the 2017 season and will be ready by 2018.
The university is in the midst of a 10-year, $1 billion investment in technologies and infrastructure that has coincided with an enrollment boom on the ground campus from about 900 students in 2008 to more than 17,000 this fall. The school has moved to Division I as a member of the Western Athletic Conference.
“We have been able to build out our campus using our cash reserves without relying on taxpayer subsidies and without raising tuition, which has been frozen on our ground campus for eight straight years,” said Brian Mueller, president of Grand Canyon University. “The additions of new classrooms, laboratories, residence halls, athletic facilities and other student amenities have not only transformed our campus but are also having a significant impact on our community as we continue our efforts to revitalize west Phoenix.”
“This is a historic time for our athletic program as we enter the final year of our four-year transition period to Division I athletics,” said Mike Vaught, vice president of athletics for GCU. “We want to be Top 25 in everything that we do and these incredible facilities will help us continue to compete at the highest level and strive for excellence both academically and athletically.
“I can’t think of another university in the country that has embarked on such an ambitious construction project in such a short time frame, but that’s how we do things at GCU. Things move pretty fast.”
In Boston, Boston College officials submitted plans to the Boston Redevelopment Authority for a new ballpark at a proposed 14-acre Brighton Athletic Fields complex. The 1,000-seat facility would feature synthetic turf and NCAA broadcast-level lighting. Like the new GCU ballpark, the Boston College project is set for a 2018 completion.
Renderings courtesy GCU; site plan courtesy Boston College.