The Washington University in St. Louis Athletics Department has opened its overhauled softball and intramural facility ahead of the Bears' softball home opener this month.
“This project presents the rare opportunity to impact both the student body and varsity student-athletes," said Anthony J. Azama, associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs & The John M. Schael Director of Athletics.
According to the university, additions to the facility include new sunken dugouts with storage, three new batting cages, elevated ADA seating, a new press box, storage sheds, a semi-permanent fencing system, new aluminum bleachers with Dream Seat chair backs, a new tension netting backstop and a walkway with step lights.
The intramural field will allow a space for different programming such as soccer, flag football, ultimate Frisbee and spikeball.
Previously a dirt and natural grass surface, the WU Softball Field has been home to the Bears' softball program since its inception in 2000. WashU will make its varsity softball debut on the field this weekend with a double-header against Wartburg on Sunday and a double-header against Westminster on Monday.
"There is such a special feeling walking onto this field knowing the history of this program and all of the women that dedicated so much to WashU,” said WashU Head Softball Coach Michelle Venturella. “The new press box directly behind home plate will allow for a great view for streaming our games. We now have three batting cages that also have permanent mounds and plates inside of them along with two additional bullpens on the visitor's side. Our spacious sunken dugouts give us plenty of room for our team and personnel and the additional seating makes this atmosphere a wonderful place to watch games. We are looking forward to our players, families and fans to come and enjoy this amazing new facility.”
The facility upgrades were completed by BSI Constructors out of St. Louis. Additional subcontractors for the facility include Byrne and Jones, Budrovich for the earthwork, Musselman and Hall for the concrete and BRK Electric.
Prior to starting the overhaul, 7,000 cubic yards of dirt were hauled off before 16,300 tons of rock were brought in to lay beneath the field. From there, BSI used 280 tons of infill in the field. A total of 120,850 square feet of athletic turf was used in addition to 19,010 square feet of landscape turf.