New UK Baseball stadium approved by Board of Trustees

Photo provided by UK Athletics

By Chris Angolia

Friday morning at the University’s Board of Trustees meeting, it was announced that the university had approved construction to begin in February on a new $49 million baseball stadium and facility.

When Nick Mingione was hired in June of this year, it was clear that a new stadium and facility were on their way, but no one really knew when aside from the fact that it would be sent to the Board of Trustee’s sometime this fall.

Luckily, the program received word of the good news on Friday, and it spread quickly throughout the college baseball community.

Kendall Rodgers of was someone that was well aware of the challenges that the UK Baseball had saying that UK ‘is like starting a race a quarter-mile behind,’ but Rodgers is happy to see that UK is upgrading.

“We’re excited. This is a huge, huge deal for our program but every recruit and family I meet I’ll just continue to tell them just how important it is to put the right people (in the new facility),” Mingione said Monday.

The project is one that is desperately needed for the program that struggles with its current facilities at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Throughout the SEC, nearly every baseball program has better facilities than UK, and it has become more and more evident over recent years.

With the competition on in the SEC already at an extremely high level, it also feels as if it is a competition between the respective schools in terms of facilities, because facilities bring in recruits and recruits help increase that performance on the field.

“We talk about that all the time in terms of the things we want to do for our young people and we want to give them the best chance to have resources to match the expectations they have for things they do in the Southeastern Conference,” UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart said Monday.

The new stadium is set to be located just off of Alumni Dr. between the new UK Football practice facility and the Wendell and Vickie Bell Soccer complex. The stadium will feature 2,400 permanent seats as well as grass areas down each baseline as well as club/box seating bringing the capacity to 4,000 seats for regular season games.

Also, there is enough room in the areas nearest the stadium that additional bleachers could be added if UK is to host a regional in the NCAA Tournament which would increase capacity to 6,000.

“We’re extremely appreciative of the continued commitment of President Capilouto, Mitch Barnhart, the University of Kentucky, and our athletics department to our program,” Mingione said. “The new facility will be beneficial in a multitude of ways and we will continue to bring the right type of students into our family to play in this marvelous facility. There’s a great deal of work to be done between now and the day our new stadium opens for our baseball program to reach the heights we all want it to, but we’re certainly excited about what the future holds.”

The approval of construction for the new stadium has clearly created a buzz around the program and with construction set to beginning in mid to late February, the stadium is set to be completed in the Fall of 2018.