The University of Kentucky’s Board of Trustees approved the construction of a $49 million baseball stadium Friday, a move that has the potential to change much of south campus for students and athletes alike.
The new baseball stadium will be built by UK Athletics at the corner of Alumni Drive and College Way, close to the existing soccer and softball complexes. Almost $7 million of that $49 million price tag will come in the form of a five-year loan from UK’s General Fund.
Construction is expected to begin in February and the stadium should open in the fall of 2018.
That move would leave the old baseball stadium space open for a possible new tennis facility. If that happens, the existing tennis complex on Complex Drive could become parking for additional students and green space.
“We have more students than at any time in our history living in this part of our campus,” said Eric Monday, UK’s executive vice president for finance and administration. “We have a unique opportunity through the continued revitalization of our athletics facilities to continue the progress the university has made to create an incomparable living and learning environment for students at UK.”
In other athletics news, the board voted to officially accept $4.7 million from longtime sports booster Joe Craft, and to name the new football training center after him. Craft’s wife, Kelly Craft, a new board member, recused herself from the vote.
The board also voted to approve a $2 million relocation and upgrade of the soccer practice field. It will move to an area of green space directly next to the new baseball stadium and bordering the neighborhoods along Montclair Drive.