Davenport Field at Disharoon Park is entering a new phase of its history. A recent expansion has not only bolstered its role as the home of University of Virginia baseball, but has made it more competitive with other Division I facilities by providing fresh amenities for the player, coach, and fan experiences.
Originally opening in 2002, the facility has served the Virginia Cavaliers well over its history. The latest changes, though, should allow the ballpark—now known as Davenport Field at Disharoon Park in honor of Leslie Disharoon and his late wife Ann Merriwether Disharoon, long-time supporters of UVA baseball—to be even more viable in the future.
Leading up to the 2018 NCAA baseball season, Disaharoon Park underwent a 40,000-square-foot expansion as part of an $18.76-million project. One of the major areas of emphasis was right field, where the effects of the expansion can be seen both inside and out. In adding a new entrance down the right field line, UVA was also able to wrap the concourse around to right-center field.
That resulted in many of the changes taking place on the first base side. Several new sections of chair-back seats were added to the main bowl, while a field level club area down the first-base side provides Disharoon Park with a new premium area. The club area provides 140 fixed seats, as well as an indoor lounge, making for a premium area that provides both an up-close viewing experience of the game and social space.
For the player facilities, there were also numerous changes. UVA’s bullpen is now located behind the right-field wall, while the team moved to the first base dugout. The expansion also includes a 5,000-square-foot player development center, as well as new meeting and office space for coaches and staff.
With this mix of amenities, Disharoon Park’s expansion covers a few notable areas of college baseball facility renovations. While improving the fan experience through increased concourse space, better egress, and improvements in both the quality and quantity of seating, it also allows for more modern amenities for players and coaches. The design work on the seating is fairly seamless, allowing the added areas to smoothly blend in with the pre-existing sections of the bowl.
The changes were not limited to the first-base side, however. A new seating area was added down the left field line, and the bleachers beyond the left field wall were expanded—with the latter improvements resulting in an increase in general admission seating.
Ultimately, the Disharoon Park expansion took what was already a functional facility and made it into one that is better positioned to meet modern expectations for college baseball. For the fans, there is now room to roam around the ballpark during the game, additional seating options, and a new premium area that provides a unique perspective on the action. Team facilities, meanwhile, have been enhanced to the benefit of players and coaches.
That approach is vital in college baseball, given the increasing emphasis to use facilities as a way to both build a more competitive program and offer a comfortable experience for fans. The Disharoon Park expansion succeeded in doing so and should help to give UVA a viable home facility going forward.