Saturday, October 25, 2014

Upgrades to athletics in full swing

Baseball stadium in the works for 2013

According to Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr., plans for a new baseball stadium are in the works and the target completion date is prior to the start of the Spring 2013 baseball season.

The new stadium will be located between the recently expanded Williams Stadium and the Green Hall parking lot, with expected seating of about 3,000 fans. For now, the baseball program will continue to play at its current home, Worthington Stadium. After the conversion is completed, the former baseball stadium will become the new softball stadium.

The upgrade will mark the most dramatic improvement since 1979, the year Worthington Stadium was built.

“(Barber) and I had been talking about renovating Worthington Stadium, but the cost was significant and it was difficult to add seats along the third base line at Worthington,” Falwell said. “We also had the problem of where the team would practice and play during the construction period.

“It occurred to me one day that we should build a new stadium adjacent to Williams Stadium.

“After studying the idea, we found that building a new stadium will not cost much more than renovating the old. Architects soon concluded that the new site next to the School of Worship (where the gravel parking lot is now located) is a perfect fit for a baseball stadium.

I am convinced we made the right decision and I am excited about it.”
Director of Athletics Jeff Barber said the new improvement will “allow baseball and softball to compete on the national level.”

Barber also believes the remodeling will be a great addition to the baseball program. Barber believes the new stadiums will not only affect recruiting, but show how much the university invests into the athletic program.

“When our recruits, student fans and visitors walk into a quality facility, they will know we care about fulfilling the dream of competing at the highest level of Division I athletics. This will produce a better product in every way,” Barber said.

The Flames have posted 29 winning seasons inside Worthington Stadium, originally named after professional player and former Liberty coach Al Worthington. Worthington has since been inducted into the Liberty Hall of Fame (class of 2010) for his accomplishments professionally, and while being a coach and athletic director at Liberty.

The Worthington Stadium went through a lot of remodeling throughout the previous years.

In 2008, Liberty baseball was able to play its first home night game against Coastal Carolina. Improved bullpens were constructed the following season in 2009 and in 2011, Liberty added the latest scoreboard and video board, as well as several quality features such as a message center, radar gun and a five-foot high clock.

Other programs have experienced significant improvements as well, especially Liberty’s football, soccer, tennis and outdoor track.

Lately, the university has emphasized its club sports also, allowing more athletes to participate in athletics and compete with other schools.

However, the new additions to the baseball stadium will mark the best opportunity yet for the athletics program, according to Barber.

Athletics can be a great tool for building a university, and these sports are in dire need of new facilities. We feel very blessed that we have the opportunity to have quality facilities for these teams to compete in,” Barber said.

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