On March 6, the Chicago State University baseball team will play its 2013 home opener against North Central College. It will be the first game played at the new $2.5 million on-campus facility, which will be one of the premier facilities in the Chicagoland area.
Ground has been broken on the stadium site, located just south of the Jones Convocation Center, home of the Cougars basketball programs. The two facilities will be connected by a landscaped walking path allowing easy access to the amenities of the JCC.
The complex, designed by KR Miller Contractors of Chicago, will feature an artificial turf field, lights, a digital scoreboard with video capabilities, heated dugouts, batting cages, expansive bleachers, stadium seating, and a state of the art press box.
"The new baseball stadium is a clear sign of Chicago State University's renewed commitment to NCAA Division I athletics," commented Chicago State President Dr. Wayne D. Watson. Athletic Director Dan Schumacher mused that the new stadium "will be the finest collegiate baseball facility in Chicago. The new stadium will be a game changer for the baseball program in terms of recruiting, visibility, and available resources." Steve Joslyn, the newly hired head baseball coach, added, "With the bells and whistles included in this project, this is a true baseball complex." Joslyn went on to say that the facility "raises the level of student-athletes we can attract and makes us a major player in the Midwest recruiting landscape"
The new facility will allow on-campus home games for the first time since the 2004 season. The Cougars have played at Brooks Field in Chicago the past eight years.
Plans for the new stadium were released prior to the university's announcing their exit from the Great West Conference to join the Western Athletic Conference. The Cougars will compete in the 51 year-old league beginning in 2013. All 14 Chicago State athletics programs will have eligible for conference championship events beginning in 2013-2014. Other WAC Teams include CSU-Bakersfield, University of Idaho, New Mexico State University, Seattle University, Utah Valley University, and Grand Canyon State University. Schumacher pointed out that "[t]his is one of the most important days in the history of our athletic department. No longer will our coaches have to recruit and compete without the chance of an automatic qualifier to NCAA championships at the end of the season."
(Quotes taken from GoCSUCougars.com press releases)