May 28, 2010
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue Board of Trustees today approved financing for construction of a new baseball stadium, located at Cherry Lane and McCormick Road, and improvements to the adjacent Varsity Soccer Complex. The $21 million project is part of the Mackey Complex master plan that was approved in May 2007.
Lambert Field, which is located on Stadium Avenue and has been the home of Purdue baseball since 1965, will be razed to make room for additional parking for the planned Student Fitness and Wellness Center, an expansion and renovation to the current Recreational Sports Center.
"When we were given the go-ahead to begin the Mackey project in 2007, part of the scope was to investigate the `Northwest Site' (the area where the Varsity Soccer Complex, Schwartz Tennis Center, Varsity Cross Country Course and Grand Prix race track currently reside)," athletics director Morgan Burke said. "We have talked for several years about a new baseball stadium and, with more parking space needed for the new Student Fitness and Wellness Center, the timing couldn't be better. The soccer complex as it stands now is rather bare bones and needs some upgrades to make it a more contemporary facility. Both of these projects will help us in our continued pursuit of joining the `25/85 Club.'"
The new baseball stadium will be located west of the Varsity Soccer Complex and is expected to be completed in time for the 2012 season. The facility will be built in traditional Purdue style with brick and masonry exterior facades and a concrete spectator area with a combination of bench and chairback seats. Seating capacity will be 1,500, with the ability to add bleachers to host postseason events. A new press box will include media seating, radio and television announce booths, and a game-day operations area. Television-quality lights will allow for night games to be televised.
The Boilermakers' home dugout will be located along the third-base line and adjacent to a new clubhouse that will feature a locker room, lounge, team meeting area and athletic training treatment area. The clubhouse will be attached to an enclosed and heated training facility that will allow for offseason batting and pitching workouts.
Both the home and visiting dugouts will be heated, and both teams will have dedicated bullpens and batting cages.
"We are grateful that the board has given its approval to move forward with the new baseball facility," head coach Doug Schreiber said. "The baseball program is very excited about becoming part of the cornerstone of the `Northwest Site" along with women's soccer and the tennis teams.
"Lambert Field has been a great home for us over the years, but, based on plans and renderings that we have been working on, I firmly believe that this new facility will be one that will make our university, our tremendous fans and the entire community very proud."
The other part of the northwest site project is improvements to team and fan amenities that currently do not exist at the Varsity Soccer Complex, which was completed in 1999 and features two playing fields.
A centrally located press box and team building will house the home team locker room, lounge, meeting area and athletic training facility, as well as the visiting team meeting room, concessions and public restrooms. A new grandstand will be erected on the west side of the primary game field.
The second-level press area will have room for media, radio and television announcers, as well as game-day staff.
A television-quality lighting system also will be installed. Plans are for all soccer complex improvements to be completed for the 2012 season.
"Everyone involved with the women's soccer program is appreciative of the university's support for this project and ecstatic about the possibilities that the construction will provide our student-athletes on a daily basis," head coach Robert Klatte said. "These improvements will create an environment that will facilitate their growth and development and give the program a home, in essence, located in our playing and practicing facility. The addition of a new grandstand with concession and restroom facilities will greatly enhance the fan experience."
The baseball and soccer venues will be connected by a decorative landscaped corridor featuring native plantings and attractive hardscape features that allow pedestrian travel to and from the venues and new parking areas. The development of infrastructure (access roads and parking) will enable circulation among all the athletics facilities as well as the new Grand Prix race track.
Cost for the construction and renovation increased from the previously approved $15 million primarily due to significant costs in the development of infrastructure and other site-related issues, as well as changes in design as the projects became more well defined.
The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, which is self-supporting and receives no tax dollars or university funding, is paying for the projects with income generated through Big Ten Conference television agreements, gifts and other department funds. Of the $121 million required for the Mackey Arena renovation and expansion and the baseball and soccer projects, $32 million is being generated through fund-raising. In essence, for every $1 gift, the athletics department is contributing $3 from conference television agreements and other department funds.
Former baseball student-athletes and coaches have contributed $1 million to the baseball stadium project.