Washington State is moving forward with upgrades to its baseball facility, as university regents have approved a Bailey-Brayton Field renovation project.
Estimated at $10 million, the upcoming renovation will be highlighted by the construction of a clubhouse. The project will yield improved facilities for the program, including coaches offices, meeting rooms, a players lounge, and an area that recognizes Washington State baseball history.
The university announced on Friday that the project has received approval from the Washington State Board of Regents, clearing the way for construction to begin this summer in anticipation of a 2021 completion. Ultimately, university officials hope that this project can help keep Washington State’s baseball facility competitive with those at competing schools and serve as a catalyst for on-field success. More from The Spokesman-Review:
Private donations will fund 100 percent of costs for the project, which WSU has named “BTO” or “Back to Omaha.” The baseball hub in Nebraska is where the College World Series is held annually. The Cougars haven’t advanced to the postseason since 2010 and only have two NCAA Tournament appearances in the past 18 years.
“This project has dated back for quite some time and it kind of started and stalled and started and stalled, and when I started, president (Kirk) Schulz made it clear priority No. 1 is we’ve got to get this project finished,” WSU Director of Athletics Pat Chun said Thursday over the phone.
Nearly $2 million in donations and pledges flowed in over the past 12 months to help WSU meet its $10 million goal.
“If we were going to move on to the (football) indoor practice field, we had to finish the baseball project,” Chun said. “We have to get all of our Cougs thinking a bit different about philanthropy and how they can impact Washington State. … It was a priority especially because of the history of that program. Our facility had fallen behind the rest of the conference and you look at the impact of Martin Stadium renovations, football operations building, the Lower Soccer Field … facilities do make a difference.
The current Bailey-Brayton Field originally opened in 1980 and has received a few improvements over the years, including the installation of an AstroTurf Diamond Series playing surface prior to the 2018 season.