JMU Hires Architect For Baseball Stadium

7/26/2007 – Daily News Record

Written By Dustin Dopirak Daily News Record HARRISONBURG — James Madison officials don’t know what their new baseball and softball complex will look like yet, but they’ve decided who they want to create it. JMU vice president Charlie King said Wednesday that the school has selected the architectural firm of Clough Harbour and Associates LLP to design the complex. Clough Harbour – based in Albany, N.Y., with an office in Richmond — designed the school’s track/field hockey/lacrosse facility off of Reservoir Street in 2001. King said Clough Harbour was one of three companies the school interviewed to design the stadium, which will be built on the site of Memorial Stadium, home of the Valley Baseball League’s Harrisonburg Turks. He refused to name the other two. "We were impressed when they showed us their proposals for projects that were similar and showed us their ideas as to what we could do with the site," King said. "… [I think what sold us] was the way they would be able to take the site and share common facilities with baseball and softball, how they would orient the fields, how they would handle the concessions and seats; it was a number of things." Dave Barlow, a partner with the firm and a chief contact for JMU on the project, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Clough Harbour has worked extensively in athletic facilities, with its flagship sports project being a deal with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to develop concept plans at facilities nationwide. Among its other projects: Sportsbackers Stadium, a multi-sport facility in Richmond. King said he expects Clough Harbor to need 10 months to design the stadium. "We still expect to start construction next May," King said. The state has approved a $5 million budget for the project, which is expected to require a full year of construction, with the ballpark set to open for the 2009 baseball season. The new stadium also is expected to have lights, which Long Field does not have. JMU baseball coach Spanky McFarland has voiced a desire for the new stadium to include 3,000 seats, which would allow the school to host an NCAA regional. Long Stadium holds just 1,200, and McFarland said the NCAA was interested in giving the Dukes a regional in 2002, but could not because of insufficient seating. McFarland said he and softball coach Katie Flynn had not been consulted on a choice of architects, but that he had been told that he would have more input after the hiring of a firm. "From this point on we’ll be involved," McFarland said. "I’m looking forward to it." James Madison has played its baseball games at Long Field, situated on the far northern end of the old campus, since 1973, three years after the team became a varsity squad and four years before it moved to Division I.