The next step has been taken towards the reality of a new baseball stadium in Morgantown.
"It's an important step," West Virginia University Athletic Director Oliver Luck said. "Without the land, there is nothing to build on. The Board of Governors did approve a purchase of approximately seven acres of property."
With that, the process is moving forward towards eventually building a new baseball stadium that will be used by West Virginia University, Fairmont State University, the New York-Penn League and others.
"We are working with our criteria developer to figure out the best location in the University Town Center," Luck said. "The TIF (Tax Increment Financing) is secure. There is still a lot of work to do to figure it all out. It is the first of many steps in terms of putting shovels in the ground, getting the ballpark built and the big moment will be when the ballpark is used for game number one and hopefully many great games beyond it."
The next step is to decide where within the boundaries of the seven acres will be the best location for the ballpark. That will fall on the shoulders of the criteria developer.
"The process is such that we have hired a criteria developer and we will work with that criteria developer for a couple of months," Luck stated. "They will put the criteria together for the design. We are building this ballpark in a design-build fashion. There is a design-build board within the state of West Virginia that is going to be with us as we go through this process."
Baseball fans should be excited about the progress. This process will take many months to unfold before there will be a baseball stadium in place and operational.
"We are definitely not weeks away from a shovel in the ground, we are months away from that," Luck said. "We would be fortunate to have a shovel in the ground by the end of the year."
WVU has another year remaining on its contracts with Appalachian Power Park in Charleston and Linda K. Epling Stadium in Beckley. That is where the WVU baseball team will play more games next season should the baseball stadium not be ready for use. All signs point to that being the case with the first full season for the WVU baseball team in this new ballpark likely coming in 2015.