Rumors of a new baseball stadium at Forest Glen Park began surfacing after a member of the baseball team released a photo of it online.
The university’s task force leaders confirmed that nothing is promised, but the image is more of a “concept” they are considering.
Vince Haupert, vice president of advancement, said the university has valid reason for exploring the enhancement of the baseball diamond in order to give it “more of a stadium feel.”
This project would include new fencing, new dugouts, a backstop, an updated press box and seating with new brick walls throughout the entire facility.
President Sherilyn Emberton, Ed.D., said the changes would address the issues of access, restroom facilities and lack of WiFi at the field.
Forest Glen currently has a seating capacity of 900 and has a press box with double bull pens. Lights were added to the ballpark in 1993.
Emberton believes that Forest Glen is “one of our more scenic, beautiful places” that “has not kept up with other facilities with its scope and size” at this time.
Haupert said the field attracts over 10,000 annual visitors to the campus per year, so the remodeled field would also act as a recruitment tool.
Athletic director Lori Culler said the field would allow the university to host big-name events at the stadium.
“Not only will this project give us an outstanding facility, these improvements will give us more opportunities to host big events [such as] the NAIA Baseball National Tournament Opening Round series, the Crossroads League tournament, high school tournaments, or All-Star games that will bring many new visitors to our campus,” she said.
Should this be set into motion, the concept would be funded entirely independent from the athletic or university operating budget, Emberton said.
“We are looking at this project as one that’s done independently of our operational expenses,” Emberton said. “We have to figure out a way to make this work. We’ve had a lot of interest in alums and former graduates in that program.”
Haupert said they will follow a proper process to see this concept come to life.
“Every successful fundraising campaign has a strategy and in that strategy are several parts,” Haupert said. “The first part is your planning phase. That’s where we were when that picture … came out. Then you have a quiet phase where you are seeking leadership.”
Community leaders as well as over 475 alumnus of the baseball program have been targeted to have an idea of those who might donate to the project. Should the funds be raised, the task force would move into a general phase that would engage the internal community before moving into a public phase, Haupert said.
Emberton said they will soon make an announcement about a lead gift.
Junior starting pitcher Brock Gower supports the proposed changes.
“[The team] is very excited about the possibilities of improved renovations happening down at Forest Glen Park,” he said. “It is already a beautiful facility and with these renovations, it will only further help set us apart from other schools in our conference. We are very lucky and hope this gets more people excited about the baseball program at HU.”
Sophomore Drew McLochlin said it could grow the team’s fan base.
“It would mean a lot [to have somewhere] where everyone could come down and enjoy a game,” McLochlin said. “I think it would attract a bigger fan base and help our program even more by getting our name out there.”
The baseball team begins their season Feb. 20 against Campbellsville University. Their first home game is at 4 p.m. April 3 against Marian University.