Facility Friday: Fresno State Stadium Renovation, YMCA Youth Baseball and Softball Complex, Joe Davis Stadium Facelift

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Screen Shot 2023 06 02 At 8 54 36 Am
Courtesy of Bulldogfoundation.org

Fresno State unveiled an ambitious re-imagining of its athletics facilities in May, targeting not just a Valley Children’s Stadium in dire need of renovation but every one of its 18 sports programs.

Unlike a stadium renovation that flat-lined and failed in 2018, the initial phase of the project already is paid for through a combination of private donations and the $1.5 million buyout that the athletics department received when former football coach Kalen DeBoer was hired away by Washington two years into a five-year contract.

Significant renovations to Valley Children's Stadium, home of Bulldog football, will include:

  • A new press box and premium club tower
  • Improved accessibility to the stadium
  • Multiple new premium seating and social gathering spaces
  • Renovated suites
  • New video boards
  • New bathrooms and concessions offerings
  • Other structural and brand enhancements throughout the venue 

The first step in the master plan is a renovation of the suites on the east side of the football stadium, which will begin this summer.

Revenue generated from leases on the upgraded premium seating will then be used to fund or retire debt on the next phase of the renovation, which is likely to focus on the north end of the stadium and include the addition of more premium seating opportunities.

Additional funding for projects will come from private donations and perhaps a second iteration of a Fresno County tax measure that is likely to be on the ballot in March 2024 for the presidential primary election. — The Fresno Bee, Fresno State Athletics

The YMCA of Northwest Louisiana has now completed a $7 million campaign to start building its new tournament-grade youth baseball and softball complex.

The YMCA says it will continue fundraising efforts until it reaches its final monetary goal. Organizers say the City of Shreveport donated $1.5 million, while the Caddo Parish Commission donated $2 million.

“Few things in our community are as important as creating a positive quality of life and healthy environment, particularly when it comes to our youth and providing them with greater opportunities to engage in physical fitness and team sports,” said Willis-Knighton President and CEO Jaf Fielder. “That’s why Willis-Knighton is proud to partner with the YMCA and Shreveport Little League to offer greater access to activities with this new state-of-the-art complex that will bring families together and increase participation in sports for children across northwest Louisiana. Sports go beyond promoting just physical development. They also teach the importance of teamwork and help to instill self-esteem. This is all in keeping with our mission to improve the health and well-being of the people we serve.”

Using money from the 2019 Louisiana Capital Outlay Bill, the YMCA bought the existing Little League complex next to its BHP YMCA building.

According to the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission, the new facility will generate around $5 million in economic impact in its first year. YMCA officials expect the number of visitors to the complex to rise from 54,352 to 341,672.

Construction is expected to start in July; the facility is set to open in the spring of 2024. — KSLA-TV

In Huntsville, Ala., Joe Davis Stadium, — once a minor league baseball stadium and now a soccer venue with multipurpose potential — has received a $29 million facelift. 

The most recognizable change on the stadium’s exterior are the permanent bleachers built in what once was the outfield – stretching from the right field line to centerfield and opposite of the long stretch of seats along what once was the left field foul line. It provides a more conventional setting for soccer and football with seats on both sidelines.

Terrace seating has also been built in the east end zone as a sort of berm for fans to spread a blanket and watch the game without the confines of a reserved seat.

Capacity has been reduced from 10,000 for baseball to about 6,000 for soccer. Much of the contraction came in the removal of seats closest to the field as part of the stadium renovation.

In addition to the money spent on the renovation, the city has also funded about $5 million in landscaping and infrastructure improvement outside the stadium. Among the noticeable changes are what city officials said was the planting of about 300 trees around the stadium and throughout the parking lot that now has grass curbs. — AL.com

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