Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Fred Stillwell Stadium Kennesaw State University Road Kennesaw, GA 30144
Year Opened: 1984 Capacity: 1,200
Hoo's on First....
Kennesaw State University is the third largest institution in the Georgia University System. It has experienced an explosion in growth over the last 10 years, with nearly 36,000 students at its suburban Marietta, Georgia campus. The school is relatively young, as it opened in 1963. The baseball program is even younger, as it did not have its inaugural season until 1984. The Kennesaw State athletic teams are known as the Owls and are members of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The baseball team calls the 1,200 seat Stillwell Baseball Stadium its home field.
The Owls have successfully managed the growth cycle from a NAIA school, through Division II and are now at the Division I level of competition. In 1994 the team won the NAIA National Championship with a perfect 60-0 record. Just two years later they won the Division II National Championship. Thirty two Owl players from KSU have been drafted by MLB, with five going on to multi-year careers at the major league level.
Food & Beverage 3
There is one concession stand in the stadium. They offer the typical baseball foods at very reasonable prices.The menu consists of hot dogs ($3), nachos ($3), popcorn ($2.50), candy ($2) and chips ($1.75). Beverages include Coca-Cola brand sodas ($2.50), bottled water ($2), coffee ($2) and hot chocolate ($2). There are plenty of sit down and fast food establishments within walking distance of Stillwell Stadium.We suggest you eat prior to the game and rely on the stadium for snacks or drinks as needed.
Stillwell Stadium has a prominent setting just inside the main gate to the KSU campus. The namesake Kennesaw Mountain forms the backdrop behind home plate for fans seated in the hospitality suites and the players on the field.
The seating bowl of the stadium consists of bleachers elevated above the playing field that extend from dugout to dugout. Stillwell Stadium offers great sight lines, as the bleachers are much closer to the playing field than the average college baseball facility. All seats at the venue consists of aluminum benches with chair backs, except for a set of hospitality suites for major donors located behind the left center field wall. A scoreboard is located behind the right center field wall. The dimensions of the field are 331’ to left field, 400’ to center field and 330’ to right field.
Stillwell Stadium has served as the Owls roost since the beginning of its baseball program and it is showing its age. The dugouts are made of brick and are very basic in design and the scoreboard looks worn and faded. The dated construction of the stadium required it to be elevated so it could drain properly. This has resulted in the need to climb stairs no matter where you go in the facility (ramps have been added to be ADA compliant). The plaza outside of the press box gets very crowded, as the restrooms, concession stand, and the only entry/exit gate are in this area. While the on-field Owls play great baseball, their home field is no advantage for the fans. Kennesaw State realizes the stadium has become outdated, and will begin a three-year, $7 million renovation immediately after the 2019 season concludes.
The stadium is hard to miss, as it is located immediately on the right as you enter through the main entrance to the Kennesaw State campus from Chastain Road.
Kennesaw State University is in an area known as Town Lake. This area boasts of a wide variety of shopping, dining and lodging facilities. The 175-store Town Lake Mall is located just 1.5 miles from the stadium and can be reached via Town Lake Parkway or a hike/bike trail that weaves through the area.
Restaurants close to the stadium include the Mellow Mushroom and the Cracker Barrel Country Store. Lodging is available across the street from Stillwell Stadium at either the Springhill Suites or the Baymont by Wyndham.
The Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is located about 5 miles from the stadium. The park area played a major role in the Battle of Atlanta during the Civil War, as the mountain provided an excellent vantage point for General Sherman with its views of Atlanta in the distance. The park is also heavily used for recreational purposes, as it offers more than 30 miles of hiking, biking and jogging trails. Another Civil War related attraction is the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History. This Smithsonian Museum-affiliated facility features the General locomotive, which was made famous during the Great Locomotive Chase of 1862.
The Owls draw very well at Stillwell Stadium. The stadium is within walking distance of most of the dorms on campus, as well as fraternity/sorority row. Off campus student housing is serviced by the BOB (Big Owl Bus) with shuttles running throughout the games. Students get free admission to all KSU athletic events through their activity fee, so there is always a full house in the student section. The fan base also includes non-students from the local community. Most of the KSU players come from within a 100-mile radius of the school, so family members and former classmates often attend the games.
The athletic department and the fans have lots of fun with the Owl moniker. You will hear several cheers involving derivations on the word “hoo.” The team mascot Scrappy does a great job in keeping the fans both entertained and fired up throughout the game.
Stillwell Stadium can be easily reached via either exit 271 off I-75 (Chastain Road) or by the Chastain Road exit from I-575 (Chastain Road) From I-75: Take I-75: Take the Chastain Road exit and go west and turn right at the first red light onto Frey Road. Continue to the East Parking Deck on your left. From I-575: Take the Chastain Road exit and head west for 4 miles. After passing over the I-75 bridge, turn right onto Frey Road. Continue to the East Parking Deck on your left. Stillwell Stadium is on the corner of Frey Road and Chastain Road. On game days a free shuttle bus service is provided from other points on the campus via the Big Owl Bus (BOB) service.
While access to KSU via the interstate is logistically easy, you must consider Atlanta’s legendary traffic issues. Making a weekday afternoon game may try your patience. The situation is gradually improving as the Georgia DOT recently completed a massive express lane project that extends from I-285 past KSU. This has relieved the congestion to some extent.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets to Owl baseball games are $5 except for “premium” games (Georgia Tech, University of Georgia, Georgia State and Georgia Southern) which cost $10.Parking is free in the East Parking Deck on game days and is within easy walking distance of the field. Concession prices at the park are very reasonable. Most KSU fans can commute to games, but hotels in the immediate area of the stadium are available for less than $100 a night.
Mother nature takes credit for the first extra, as the view of Kennesaw Mountain looming over the stadium is beautiful.
Chastain Road is just beyond the bleachers along the first baseline and offers a wide variety of dining, shopping and lodging options within walking distance of the field.
Civil War buffs will enjoy visiting the many Civil War sites located within a few miles of the KSU campus. Kennesaw Mountain played a pivotal role in the Battle of Atlanta.
Just as we were going to press, KSU announced that Stillwell Stadium will be getting a major renovation over the next three off-seasons, with work completed by 2022. Amongst the areas receiving major attention will be the expansion of the seating bowl to hold more than 1,500 fans. The construction of additional concession facilities, improvements to the dugouts and construction of more premium seating areas. The overall cost of the renovations is expected to be $7 million, which will come through fundraising and contributions from major donors.
Stillwell Stadium has served the Kennesaw State Owls well since they were hatched in the 1980’s. With age comes wisdom, and these Owls know it is time to give their home some sorely needed updates. By our next review, we feel that the nest will look good as new.