A good deal of sunshine. High 87F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph..
Some clouds. Low 64F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.
Updated: April 24, 2022 @ 9:10 am
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HUNTINGTON — Another Marshall University Board of Governors’ meeting ended with no moves being made for the future of the Marshall University baseball stadium.
The board purchased the former Flint Group Pigments property in the 2400 block of Fifth Avenue from the Huntington Municipal Development Authority in 2019, but any movement in the project was depleted due to the coronavirus pandemic and inflation costs.
While the cause of delay has not been publicly addressed, Marshall President Brad D. Smith said to the Board of Governors Thursday the university has been following three principles during the process: looking at costs, time to play ball and what is best for the community.
“We also recognize that everyone has been overly patient and getting to the point of being impatient about when we will make an announcement,” he said. “We assure you we’re at the point now where we’re dotting the I’s, crossing the T’s.”
Smith pledged Thursday when the next decision is made surrounding the new stadium, there will not be a groundbreaking, but “bulldozers moving.”
“It sounds like we’re making really good progress, but there are still a few details to finalize. The board is eager to give our final approval and to see the Herd play baseball in Huntington as soon as possible,” Board of Governors Chair Patrick Farrell said about the stadium.
Huntington Mayor Steve Williams said Thursday the city has committed $8 million in American Rescue Plan Act Funds to a new baseball stadium to Smith, Farrell and Marshall Athletics Department. That commitment has not changed.
The city has until Dec. 31, 2024, to spend its APRA funds and Williams has said he is dedicated to having a stadium by the time he leaves office the same year. The $8 million promised by the city can be used for areas including but not limited to “utility relocation, environmental testing, abatement, stormwater mitigation, environ plume, foundation impact and soil removal.”
The university meeting Williams’ deadline of opening a baseball stadium by spring 2024 is still plausible, but a combination of the pandemic and construction costs has drastically slowed the process over the last two years.
Initial 2019 project bids came back higher than what the athletic department was comfortable with — about $28 million to the original estimate between $18 million and $20 million. The completion date was originally set for March 2021.
Plans previously released called for a 3,000-seat stadium, which can be expanded to 3,500 seats for postseason play. It will feature three levels, artificial turf, two full-size batting cages, three locker rooms, a team lounge, an indoor and outdoor club with box suites, and an open and transparent concourse. It is designed by AECOM, an infrastructure firm, which also designed the Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex and the Chris Cline Indoor Athletic Facility.
Courtney Hessler is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch, primarily covering Marshall University. Follow her on Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.
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