University Architect Alice Raucher will suggest a soccer and lacrosse practice field near Klockner Stadium and Davenport Field as the location for a proposed softball stadium to the Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Board of Visitors next Thursday. If the Board approves the plans, Raucher hopes the new stadium will be open by February 2020, in time for the first game of the season.
"We are in the earliest of stages,” Raucher said in an interview Wednesday. “We are just recommending the site. We have the architect consultant on board already that was approved at the December [Board of Visitors] meeting, and so if the BOV approves the site, we will move forward with the enabling projects and figure out the exact schedule."
Initial proposals for the softball stadium last fall designated Lambeth Field as the recommended location. Some students and community members said they felt ignored in the proposal process and , arguing there would be significant parking, lighting and property value implications.
The on the site of the proposed stadium in December following criticism from the community. Last month, Lambeth Field was and the Office of the University Architect set out to find a new location for the stadium.
Raucher’s team narrowed the suggestions shortlist to three options — the southernmost softball field at The Park on North Grounds and either the East or West side of the intersection of Copeley Road and Massie Road near Klockner Stadium. The east side would put the stadium in an existing parking lot, while the west side would displace a varsity soccer and lacrosse practice field. Raucher is proposing the west side.
“We're engaged in a master plan with athletics, especially with our new, fantastic athletics director, to really think about how we're utilizing this whole area,” Raucher said. “The fact that this is already a practice field, it can share a lot of facilities — it can share the entry, the ticket booth and it becomes really one complex.”
If the Board accepts the architect’s location proposal, the next step will be what Raucher called “enabling projects,” such as finding a new location for the dislocated practice field to support existing varsity teams.
“We all think that this is a pretty great outcome that involved a lot of input from stakeholders and neighbors,” Raucher said. “I think we learned a lot about the process. I learned a lot about the process.”
Raucher will present to the Board at 1:15 p.m. on March 1 in the Board Room of the Rotunda.