Construction begins on new baseball, softball complex

After October announcement, $5 million project to be completed by spring 2017

senior staff writer
Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Department of Athletics announced Monday that it has commenced construction of a new facility for the baseball and softball teams.

The fields were financed through $5 million in donations and are expected to be completed in time for the teams’ seasons in spring 2017. Mark Attanasio ’79, owner of Major League Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers, gave the lead gift. As the University garnered interest from donors and approached the $5 million goal, the project was announced after the Corporation’s October meeting.

The primary upgrade will be a synthetic turf playing surface, which will allow for consistent use of the fields in an unpredictable New England climate. The project is one of the many upgrades to athletic department facilities over the past years, dating back to the presidency of Ruth Simmons. After the completion of the complex, the University will have a total of eight fields with synthetic turf.

“It’s a drastic upgrade,” said Head Baseball Coach Grant Achilles. “Our facility is going to be unrivaled by many places in the Northeast and New England.”

“Our field has been there forever,” said softball catcher Julia Schoenewald ’18. “It’ll be nice to have updated features.”

Other upgrades for the new complex include dugouts, improved batting cages and bullpens, new bleachers and new scoreboards. There was also mention of an indoor facility being built in the initial October announcement, but it was left out of the plans for the time being, Achilles said.

A new facility will especially benefit players in the early spring leading up to the teams’ first games, said baseball pitcher Christian Taugner ’17.

“The most we can do indoors is simulated games. There’s not much defense involved in those.” Taugner said. “Being able to be outside will be huge for our position players.”

The old softball facility had a slanted bullpen that required pitchers to warm up uphill, wrote pitcher Katie Orona ’18 in an email to The Herald, an issue that will resolved with the completion of the new field.

Many teams are unfamiliar with a turf infield, which could provide a unique home-field advantage for the Bears as they become accustomed to the surface, Schoenewald said.

There is also hope that a brand new facility will aid coaches in attracting prospective athletes to College Hill.

“Most recruits want up-to-date facilities, and I believe we will have one of the best fields in the Ivy League,” Orona said.

“Brown has a lot of positive things to offer. One of the missing pieces of the puzzle was our facility,” Achilles said. The upgraded field will be “not only a great place for (players) to play and practice, but also an investment that shows how serious we are about winning.”

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  1. More construction. More facilities. Higher non-teaching employment. Higher tuition…exceeding inflation by 3x since 1980. When will it ever stop?

    When can Brown offer a 4-year BA for $10,000, as is done by the University of Texas? Does Brown offer a better degree than the U of Texas? How can one in good conscience tolerate ever-increasing tuition at Brown? Is $66,000 too much?

    • UT is a state school getting billions of dollars from the state for both its budget and facilities. Everytime you buy gas you are sending UT money. Brown is a private school.

      • It’s clear that you wish to ignore the key issue: Brown’s tuition has been climbing 3x inflation over the past 36 years. UT has cut its costs. Regardless of the source of funds–trees don’t grow to the sky (as they say in German).
        Brown’s antediluvian funding sources are no longer adequate to meet its current needs…and no one is doing anything about it…unlike MIT, Harvard, Northeastern, Arizona State, Stanford and even Simmons.
        Fat, dumb and happy–until Brown collapses under the weight of its 19th Century education practices.

        • MIT, Harvard, Northeastern, and Stanford’s tuition are all higher than Brown’s with substantially larger endowments and donations. If anyone can be free, it is certainly Harvard and Stanford. It is a universal problem of all US colleges, not unique to Brown. They don’t want to be free because they want to limit poor students attending. The average parents income of Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford are ironically the highest in the nation, not the lowest. Princeton has the fewest students on financial aid in the Ivy League.

          • rick131, here’s the point: Brown’s building ever-more infrastructure which adds to cost, and does not add to the student’s value for money.
            Brown refuses to look at alternative ways to teach, to admit candidates, or to raise revenue. Who cares about endowment? On that Brown’s already lost. If Brown doesn’t change, and change quickly, its “teaching business model” will bring it to perdition.
            Any interest on the part of administration, faculty or students? Not much. Students are simply annoying peasants. Teachers are there to be coddled, but not listened to. Administration–>that’s where the real troglodytes reside…
            We’ve proposed, among other things, a plan for Brown to raise $100 million per year in new revenue while attracting more low-income students and improving its teaching methods. Is Christina Paxson interested? Not a bit!
            Brown–you are failing in your mission.

          • Altho I agree with you in part, Brown has added a fully independent medical school, a school of public health, and developing a school of engineering. They are also adding applied math. So, other departments are growing as well.

          • 3x the number of administrators. 211 departments (!). Brown’s answer to 21st Century challenges is “pile on the expenses.” Where’s the value for education?
            If the new departments aren’t carrying their weight, they should be divested to schools that know what to do with them.
            Brown’s med school and school of PH are clearly second-rate. Engineering in RI? Give me a break! Brown–change or die!

    • A better question is why does Harvard with a 37 billion dollar endowment charge higher tuition than Brown?

  2. Ken Miller says:

    Let’s see. Donors, including one of the owners of a MLB team, donate money to bring two of our substandard athletic facilities up to a point where we can field teams to compete with our Ivy peers, and that’s a problem? Really? Reconstructing these two stadiums will not increase non-teaching employment and will not add to tuition. Instead, they may help Brown break out of 8th place in Ivy League athletics. That’s to be celebrated, not lamented.

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