Feb. 17, 2009
ATLANTA – Today, the Georgia Tech Softball team practiced in its new stadium for the first time. Work continues outside the stadium in preparation for the March 10 home opener, but the Yellow Jackets had a chance to practice for the first time on the new field to rave reviews. Several members of the team had individual sessions in the batting cages and then had team practice on the field.
Georgia Tech Softball Complex Gives Team On-Campus Venue
By Akshay Amaraneni
With the recent success of the Georgia Tech Softball team in the recent past, it is only fitting that one of the best groups of seniors bids farewell to Tech with their final season in a brand new on-campus stadium that will take the place of Glenn Field this year.
The stadium, sits on the corner of Fowler Street and Eighth Street and will be near many of Tech’s other sports complexes.
“Everybody’s fired up to get in there. It’s been a long time coming and we’re excited that it’s finally here. We’re ready to have our own new turf. It will make life easier for the players. They work really hard and it’s kind of a hassle for them to come off campus every day,” said Softball Head Coach Sharon Perkins.
The $4.99 million complex comes complete with several unique amenities that make the stadium one of the most current in terms of NCAA softball stadiums. With an official capacity of 1,500 people and stadium lights, the NCAA will have an additional option for hosting a post-season regional or the ACC championship.
“Now that we have lights and locker rooms and meeting rooms, we will be able to host [regionals] and keep our fans here and get some good crowds out here,” Perkins said. The stadium itself is regulation size and meets NCAA minimum requirements, measuring 190 feet to the corners and 220 feet to straight away center field making the stadium a home run hitter’s heaven.
Outside of the playing field, some of the unique amenities the stadium features include a state-of-the-art press box, indoor batting cages, retention tank and grassy knolls for fans.
The press box arrived on campus pre assembled from a company in Texas. “[The press box] is great. We have three separate rooms so we can have radio booths and close the doors and they can do the game and not have people running around and not have interference from other people and its temperature controlled. It will help with exposure as this sport continues to grow in popularity,” said Softball Sports Information Director Seth Gerard.
The press box features three separate booths that will replace the single room trailer at the old stadium. The first room is for media members as well as the athletic department staff. The adjacent rooms are for home and visiting radio and television broadcasting booths. The construction team has been fortunate to recycle 99 percent of the waste generated through the course of construction. Barton Malow Company’s (construction manager) Project Manager Jason McFadden is expecting a LEED silver certification for the establishment.
Outside of the press box on either side are decks for different purposes. On one side is a deck featuring a row of seats that the press can use during NCAA regional games. The other deck is one the staff can use for recruiting purposes as a private deck.
For the players, the stadium features three indoor batting cages with retractable nets. The cages can be three separate with pitching machines, or combined to form a large one with one or two lanes featuring live pitching indoors, “[The batting cages] are indoors so if it rains you can get out of it. There are three cages and not everybody has three cages. You can slide the nets back and do one big open cage and you can go live against the pitcher,” Perkins said.
The retention tanks outside of the stadium help the Softball Complex ground staff save and recycle water by storing it 15 feet underground. “Anything that hits the bleachers, the sidewalks, the roof, the buildings and the field, get channeled back into the cisterns. We can hold about 42,000 gallons of water underground and reuse all of the water to irrigate the field. The softball field is nothing without green grass,” said McFadden.
Finally, the fans will have a Sunday afternoon treat when they enter the stadium as well. In addition to several bleachers that are common to every stadium, the staff set aside room for two small, grassy areas where families can bring chairs or blankets to sit and enjoy the game.
This season’s softball schedule only features 18 home games, but the Yellow Jackets will host No. 1 Alabama in late April, while perennial ACC powers Florida State and North Carolina will also travel to Atlanta this season.
The first official practice in the new stadium is Feb. 17, but the first game is not until March 10 when the Jackets host Tennessee-Martin. There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony prior to the 3:00 p.m. first pitch.
“It’s in a great spot now and we should get a draw since some of the baseball games are the same day as ours. You can stop in for a couple of innings; it’s a quick paced game,” Perkins said.