Softball stadium location receives Board of Visitors Buildings and Grounds Committee approval

The softball stadium will be situated near Klöckner Stadium, Davenport Field

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The new softball stadium would replace a grass soccer and lacrosse practice field on Massie Road and Copeley Road.

Courtesy University of Virginia | Courtesy University of Virginia

The Board of Visitors Buildings and Grounds Committee convened Thursday in the Rotunda to sign off on the new softball stadium location and review revisions to the 2018 Capital Plan. The committee also approved the construction of the Comprehensive Breast Center, a proposed clinical service and research center near the U.Va. Community Oncology practice on Pantops. 

All of the committee’s decisions will be subject to final approval by the entire Board Friday.

The committee unanimously approved the location for the new softball stadium proposed by University Architect Alice Raucher. The stadium would replace a grass soccer and lacrosse practice field on Massie Road and Copeley Road, neighboring Klöckner Stadium and Davenport Field. 

The plans for the softball stadium don’t include creating additional parking as several varsity teams already play in the area using existing parking. The new stadium will also inherit the entryway and ticketing booths from the displaced practice field. 

The project plan gained notoriety in the community after initial proposals suggested Lambeth Field. Local residents were outspoken in saying the venture would have significant parking, lighting and property value implications. In December, the Board of Visitors deferred a vote on the softball stadium location and plans. The University held a community listening session with community stakeholders in January about the plans for the softball stadium. Shortly after the session, Raucher notified the Board of Visitors that Lambeth had been removed from the shortlist of potential locations. 

“I’d like to thank Alice [Raucher] for taking Lambeth Field off the list in January,” said Whittington Clement, committee chair and Board of Visitors member. “My emails — they’ve ceased.”

Last week, Raucher told the Cavalier Daily she would propose the practice field as the new site.

Raucher said she hopes the stadium will open by February 2020 for the opening of the year’s softball season. The immediate next step will be relocating the practice field.

Additionally during the meeting, Colette Sheehy, the University’s senior vice president for operations, presented several recommended changes to the 2018 Capital Plan, which identifies major construction projects for the University. These includes the establishment of two new upper-class residence halls and the demolition of University, Cage and Onesty halls. The updated plan also includes funds for the Darden Inn and Cavalier Inn, two facilities recommended by the University Hospitality Task Force.

The Commonwealth of Virginia requires the University to submit a six-year construction plan every other year, Sheehy said, but they’re generally only estimates.

“There’s so much on this plan that all of this will not come into fruition on this time frame,” Sheehy said to the Board. “Likely, it will extend beyond this timeframe, particularly when we’re looking for the state to fund some of this for us.” 

The 2018 Capital Plan emendations are not yet finalized and will be voted on by the Board in June, though one project was added immediately — the Comprehensive Breast Center.  According to the proposal, the new facility will offer “comprehensive clinical services including state-of-the-art imaging, advanced cancer genetics testing, and targeted therapies” alongside “life-sustaining education, support, and survivorship programs; and robust research and clinical trial resources.”

The Capital Plan allocated $12 million for the Center’s construction. The immediate approval — instead of waiting for the assent in June — was requested because the lease for the University Community Oncology Center in Pantops has already been drafted, and the University wants the project to move forward. The motion was then brought to the Finance Committee for permission to execute the lease, where it passed unanimously.

The addendums to the Capital Plan also include several research studies to determine how the University can best proceed, including a parking study and studies of space needs for both the School of Architecture and the School of Engineering. The studies will be undertaken by Raucher’s team in conjunction with external consultants as needed.

The committee also approved the renaming of two baseball facilities — the baseball stadium formerly called Davenport Field will be formally dubbed Davenport Field at Disharoon Park  and the baseball stadium access road will be entitled Coogan Way.

The full Board will reconvene Friday to approve individual committee decisions.

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