PROVO -- A one-of-a-kind mirrored-image softball/baseball complex will usher BYU into the new millennium. The announcement for the new sports facility was made by K. Fred Skousen, advancement Vice President, Tuesday. "We are pleased that approval has been given for us to begin the planning and design phase of what we anticipate will be a premier softball/baseball facility."
Valentiner, Crane Architects of Salt Lake City were selected to design the new 4,000-seat facility. They are the same firm which designed Franklin Covey Field. When all phases are complete, it will seat 2,000 fans in permanent seating for baseball and another 2,000 fans in permanent seating for softball. The tensile roof is
constructed from a teflon fabric pulled taut by cables, similar to the design on the Denver International Airport. The total project is estimated to cost approximately $7 million, of which more than $2 million has been pledged.
"We are committed to excellence in all aspects of our athletic programs at BYU," said BYU President Merrill J. Bateman. "This new facility will clearly elevate the baseball and softball programs to another level."
The complex will be built on the existing site across the street from the Marriott Center. The baseball diamond will remain in its current location facing east and the softball field facing northwest. Both stadiums will have lights for night-time play.
A shared press box will house radio and TV broadcasts and seating for print media and game-day operations. Separate locker rooms will also be included under the grandstands. The complex will include concession facilities.
"We have been in need of a facility like this for a long time and it is exciting to be part of today's announcement, said BYU's men's athletic director Val Hale. "Now we need the support of our softball and baseball fans."
Overhead shot of the Softball Field (BYU Graphic)
That enthusiasm and excitement is being echoed throughout BYU's athletic department by administrators and coaches alike. "This is a great opportunity for our women athletes. We just added softball and now the participants will have a chance to compete in one of the premier facilities in college athletics," added Elaine Michaelis, BYU's women's athletic director.
"The announcement and building of this facility will greatly enhance our chances of winning championships by being able to host tournaments and attract blue-chip recruits," said newly appointed baseball coach Vance Law.
As BYU's newest addition to the women's athletic program, softball coach Mary Kay Amicone knows what an advantage it will be to have such a sports complex. "We are so excited to have such a great facility here on our campus." "I think this complex is very important to help us continue to recruit the top players in the country," she added.
Fundraising efforts are now under way and the help of alumni, fans and friends of BYU's athletic programs is being sought for the building of the project. Those wishing to contribute may do so via in-kind gifts (materials, labor, etc.) or monetarily. Those
interested can contact Val Hale and Elaine Michaelis, who are heading the fundraising efforts.
Groundbreaking for the facility will begin at the end of the baseball season, with the completion expected by the start of play in 2001. Phase one is already under way with the baseball outfield fences being lengthened from 390 to 400 in center, and from 365 to 385 in the power alleys. The distance down the lines remains the same at 345.
Baseball History At BYU:
1895: The first official intercollegiate athletic event held in Utah was a baseball game between Brigham Young Academy and the University of Utah on May 18.
1913: Baseball is officially established as a sport at BYU.
1957 -1968: Games were played at a diamond located where the Tanner Building now stands. Prior to 1957, the team played at Timpanogos Park in Provo.
1969-present: Baseball played at Cougar Field, a 3000-seat facility, located west of the Marriott Center.
Softball History At BYU:
1950's: Softball is established as a sport at BYU.
1975: Softball is moved to an extramural sport.
1999: Softball is reinstated as a Division I program. Home games for the 2000 season will be played at Harmon Park on 900 East in Provo.