Ground Broken on New UK Softball Complex
Sept. 14, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. - On Dec. 13, 2011, the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees approved UK Athletics' initial scope proposal to renovate and upgrade the UK Softball Complex. Since that time, the old softball bleachers have been moved over to the UK Soccer Complex, the dugouts have been torn down and the future of UK's softball program has started to take shape.
Among the changes detailed above, several additional changes have been made. The hitting barn on the third base side of the complex has been torn down and netting for a temporary hitting barn has been installed in left field. Additionally, the home bullpen that bordered the hitting barn is no longer in use, and half of the parking lot by the complex has been fenced off as a construction base.
Currently, the team is still holding normal fall practices at the complex, using the temporary hitting cage in left field and the visitor's bullpen down the right-field line. The field itself is still 100 percent functional with the team being able to conduct fielding and take batting practice. The facility upgrades and renovations underway will not involve any upgrades to the field, outfield or video board/scoreboard.
The facility blueprint calls for more than just dugout and grandstand renovation. The softball facilities will also be renovated, including the locker room, shower, restroom and lounge facilities. The initial plans for the facility are to build a new hitting building near the leftfield foul pole that will include a team lounge and locker room.
The project will also include additional seating along both lines and a new press box. The press box will feature a general press area, TV booth and home and visitor radio booths. The grandstand is expected to hold approximately 1,500 fans.
The facility, which will be ready for the home opener in March, will have a grand first season as Kentucky will host the 2013 Southeastern Conference Tournament from May 5-11. It will mark the first time that Kentucky has hosted the SEC Softball Tournament, which started in 1997.
Prior to the 2012 season, the facility received a new UK blue outfield fence, which was pushed back approximately 10 feet, new foul poles and a new video and scoreboard. The current dimensions are 200 feet down the lines and 220 in center field.
On Feb. 9, 1995, ground was broken on the original UK Softball Complex. The stadium had seating for 500 spectators and was ready when the program started in 1997. The initial dimensions were 190 feet down both lines and 220 to center field.
The UK Board of Trustees met Tuesday afternoon to approve an increase of the initial project scope by approximately $2 million.
For the latest updates on the UK Softball Complex construction, including photos visit UKathletics.com.