With the 2018 NCAA baseball season approaching, it’s time to look at the new and renovated college ballparks on tap this season, and previewing what’s in the works for the 2019 NCAA baseball season.
There are two major projects debuting this spring. Grand Canyon University in Phoenix is preparing to show off a massive overhaul to Brazell Stadium (shown above), which 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. Technically, this is a major renovation job at an existing facility, but it’s basically a new ballpark for a program that’s risen in recent years, moving up to Division I in 2013 and joining the WAC.
A similar project is being carried out at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. For the 2018 season, the university will debut an expanded John Euliano Park. Formerly known as Jay Bergman Field, John Euliano Park will now feature a home plate tower that includes club seating, among other improvements.
Both John Euliano Park and the renovated Brazell Stadium will debut on February 16, with UCF hosting Virginia and TCU visiting Grand Canyon for the beginning of a three-game series.
There is one new Division I ballpark in the works, as Boston College is prepping a new Brighton ballpark to replace Shea Field. The 1,000-seat facility will feature synthetic turf, a press box and NCAA broadcast-level lighting for the ACC school.
Florida State University is eying updates to Dick Howser Stadium in coming years, but in the meantime Seminoles fans can enjoy the second largest videoboard in college baseball this season. Down the road, Dick Howser Stadium could receive even more improvements. FSU is mulling a variety of upgrades to the facility, including improved dugouts and lighting, along with new grandstand seating, renovated open-air suites, concourse improvements, and other overhauls to both the fan and player experiences. You can read more here.
Another new videoboard project: Georgia Tech is installing a new display at Russ Chandler Stadium. You can read more here.
Ole Miss fans will need to put up with construction at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field until April, when upgrades to the home of the Rebels are expected to be completed. The centerpiece of the renovations: a 42,000-square-foot baseball building housing a new clubhouse, player facilities and more. New seating is also on top, both behind home plate and on top of the new building. You can read more here.
Also undergoing work this year and next: Dudy Noble Field, home of the Mississippi State University baseball team. The two-year renovation will be done for the 2019 season, but in the meantime the Bulldogs will be this season with some changes already in place. Our Jarah Wright detailed the changes here.
Next season will also see the opening of a new ballpark at the University of Kentucky, as the Wildcats prep a replacement for Cliff Hagen Stadium. The ballpark would offer 2,400 fixed seats, with additional berm seating extending the capacity to 4,000. In addition, the new facility will feature modern premium and suite level seating. It will also be built in a way that allows for temporary seating beyond the outfield for major events, with higher-profile games hosting upwards of 6,000 spectators. The new ballpark is on schedule to be finished this fall, in plenty of time for a 2019 opening.
Meanwhile, we should see some more announcements this season about new or renovated college ballparks. The University of Florida has been working on plans to replace Alfred A. McKethan Stadium, with a fundraising effort already underway but no firm plans in place. Oklahoma State University has been grappling with the future of Allie P. Reynolds Stadium for several years now. Boise State is bringing baseball back and is currently working on a location for a new on-campus ballpark. Undoubtedly we’ll see more plans for new and renovated college ballparks in coming months, but in the meantime enjoy these upgrades and new facilities.