With the facility being prepared for a 2021 opening, there are visible signs of progress in the construction of a new Lafayette Aviators (summer collegiate; Prospect League) ballpark.
Following the Aviators’ 2019 season, demolition work began on Loeb Stadium–a facility that originally opened in 1940–to make way for a new ballpark on the same site. The project involves tearing down the original Loeb Stadium and effectively flipping the diamond, placing the new ballpark’s grandstand in what had been past center field. The new ballpark will be smaller than Loeb Stadium, with fixed seating for around 2,000, with a synthetic turf to allow more use in a longer season.
Ground was broken for the project in August, and there have been apparent signs of progress over the months since, as much of the steel is in place for the new grandstand. There is still a long way to go in the construction process, but the project is moving along, with a few key tasks to begin in the coming weeks and months. More from the Journal & Courier:
Jon Miner, director of operations for the Lafayette Parks Department, said that’s been a frequent reaction, now that Main Street is open to through traffic – after months of being closed for utility work to feed the new stadium – and much of the steel is in place for the Loeb grandstand.
“It’s coming along,” Miner said. “You’re going to see a lot of work there. But it might be a while before you see something seem that striking, with all that steel that went up, again.”…
The new Loeb Stadium will go where the old one was on the southwest side of Columbian Park, only rotated 180 degrees. Home plate will be where centerfield once was and pushed closer to Main Street, which was narrowed to make room. The steel structure going up today closest to the intersection of Main Street and Wallace Avenue is for the grandstand. Ticket offices and entrances are being built on Wallace Avenue, along what will be the first base line and directly across from the Original Frozen Custard at Wallace and Main. Miner said brickwork and the façade will come later this year.
In coming weeks, Miner said, crews plan to pour foundations for batting cages on the third base side and the visitors locker room and concession stands along the first base line.
Loeb Stadium had a unique history that includes a period as a host for affiliated minor-league baseball, and even spring training. The Cleveland Indians held spring training there from 1943-1945, when wartime travel restrictions forced teams to train locally instead of in warmer-weather climates. To accommodate the ongoing construction, the Aviators will play their 2020 season at Purdue University’s Alexander Field.
Rendering courtesy American Structurepoint.
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