Board approves final plans, naming of new ballpark

May 13, 2005

University Park, Pa. -- The Penn State Board of Trustees Friday, May 13, approved final plans for a new baseball park at University Park to be shared by the Penn State baseball team and a minor league team.

The new ballpark will be named Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. A gift by Anthony Lubrano in honor of Charles Medlar, a long-time Penn State head baseball coach, comprises a portion of the funds provided by Intercollegiate Athletics in the construction of the new facility.

The board also gave authorization to obtain bids and award contracts to construct the ballpark, with a total budget not to exceed 10 percent above $23.9 million. Funds provided by Intercollegiate Athletics, along with $12 million in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funds, which were pursued through the Centre County Industrial Development Authority and authorized by Gov. Ed Rendell, will be used to construct the project. The ownership group of the Altoona Curve, which will own the minor league team to play at the ballpark, will lease use of the stadium.

The stadium groundbreaking will take place Wednesday, May 18, with completion expected in June 2006.

"We've been working very hard to advance this project quickly in order to have the ballpark ready for play next summer," said Gary C. Schultz, senior vice president for finance and business/treasurer of the University.

"This is a great day for Penn State baseball," said Tim Curley, director of athletics. "We are very appreciative of the assistance from Gov. Rendell, the Centre County Industrial Development Authority and the Altoona Curve, to make a first-class baseball facility a reality for the University and community."

The ballpark will be located near the intersection of Curtin and Porter Roads and adjacent to Beaver Stadium and The Bryce Jordan Center. Its final plans, designed by L. Robert Kimball and Associates and the DLR Group, calls for concourse, suite and field levels, Schultz said.

A new landscaped pedestrian plaza in front of the main entrance will complement the Porter Road entrance to Beaver Stadium, and in addition to baseball games, the plaza will serve visitors for football games and other events.

At the concourse level, a ticketing and retail pavilion will provide access to a gated entry plaza and entertainment plaza -- spaces that will accommodate special outdoor events and concessions. The concourse will provide access to all facilities. Seating at the concourse level will include 4,027 seats in the main seating bowl, 500 right field bleacher seats, a picnic deck for 600 and a standing-room-only deck for about 600 people.

Minor league offices, general concession stations, picnic concessions and a grille area, along with restrooms, first-aid station and support areas will be located on the concourse.

The suite level is slated to include 18 suites with space for 12 people in each and two larger suites accommodating 24 people each, creating a total suite capacity of 264 people. Penn State baseball offices, media facilities and other support spaces will be located on the suite level.

At the field level, plans include the clubhouses for Penn State baseball and the minor league team, with shared shower and laundry facilities. Weight training, medical training and multipurpose rooms will be located adjacent to the clubhouses. A visiting team clubhouse with its own medical training room, an umpire locker room and additional support areas will be at the field level. Bullpens will be located along the outfield foul lines.

Reinforcing an "athletic village" concept, the designs for the new ballpark complement the nearby Bryce Jordan Center, Beaver Stadium and the Multisport Indoor Facility, featuring brick, metal, concrete block and glass in the construction. Designs for the park also include field lights and a scoreboard, while appropriate signage will be added to mark the ballpark's name, Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The ballpark will be oriented to the east, offering excellent views of Mount Nittany.

A new bus stop on Porter Road will serve the ballpark and daily needs of commuters.

The project also will include 502 new paved parking spaces along Porter Road, with 385 on the north side of the ballpark for patrons and 117 on the south side for staff, officials and players. The new spaces will satisfy parking deficiencies for daily commuters.

During the construction phase of the project, some parking spaces on the east side of Beaver Stadium, near the intersection of Curtin and Porter Roads, will be reassigned temporarily for the 2005 football season. With the cooperation of the College of Agricultural Sciences, approximately 3,500 new football parking spaces have been created to help offset the lost spaces. Season ticket-holders to be impacted will be contacted within the next week.

Parking for suite-holders and guests will remain to the east of Beaver Stadium in the area of the new ballpark parking. Club seat-holders will relocate to Lots 24 and 25 east of the stadium, and Honorary Coach to one of four parking alternatives near the stadium.

Intercollegiate Athletics will notify and work with affected club seat, suite and Honorary Coach members to assign the best available spaces and accommodate special needs. Additionally, those directly affected by the temporary parking inconvenience will have their 2005 parking fee refunded.

"It is our goal to not only maintain but to enhance the best football tailgating experience anywhere in the country and we believe this temporary inconvenience will ultimately enhance the overall football gameday environment while taking us another step closer in creating state-of-the-art facilities for our overall sports program," said Curley.

Under the terms of the operating agreement between the University and the minor league team's owners, the new ballpark will be owned by the University and operated by the minor league team, which will lease the use of the stadium and bear responsibility for all operations within the facility. Parking and traffic control will be handled by University Parking and Penn State Police.

A three-member administrative board will manage the operating agreement which is designed to balance the responsibilities and benefits for both the University and the minor league team. The board will include a representative of the minor league team, a representative of Intercollegiate Athletics and an individual who will serve as chair, appointed by Schultz.

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    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated November 18, 2010