June 14, 2017 in Leadership, and Projects

Take me out to the ballgame

Clemson, Coastal Carolina among nation’s top 10 baseball stadiums

A survey of college baseball coaches and sports information directors across the nation listed Clemson University’s Doug Kingsmore Stadium as the No. 6 best college baseball park in the country, with Coastal Carolina University’s Springs Brooks Stadium following at No. 9. The list, released by D1Baseball, was compiled based on votes from 110 baseball coaches and 62 sports information directors.

Kingsmore Stadium was ranked No. 1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference on the D1Baseball list, in addition to most recently being listed among college baseball’s “7 must-visit stadiums to catch a game at” by NCAA.com.

GMC Vice President of Architecture Mike Keeshen, a former Clemson student athlete turned architect, was the project architect for renovations of both Doug Kingsmore Stadium and Springs Brooks Stadium. ”Our mission is to give the coaches and staff tools that will help them recruit and train the best student athletes. Watching teams use those tools and become successful is extremely rewarding,” Keeshen said. “You feel like you’ve made a contribution.” The senior architect says this year has been particularly rewarding, having worked for three current national champions – Clemson football, University of South Carolina women’s basketball and CCU baseball.

Springs Brooks Stadium at Coastal Carolina University

CCU Springs Brooks Stadium 8852 edit webHome of the 2016 College World Series National Champions, the new Coastal Carolina University baseball and softball complex, which comprises Springs Brooks Stadium and the softball stadium, was completed in 2015. The existing stadium was demolished and replaced to achieve the Chanticleers’ goal of providing top-rate facilities for student athletes.

The 33,000-square-foot baseball project includes 2,500 permanent seats, with the potential to accommodate 5,000-6,000 fans for events such as an NCAA postseason tournament. The current configuration will accommodate the extra 3,000-plus fans as a result of grass berms down the right and left field lines and the City of Conway boardwalk around the outfield wall.

The project, which began following the 2012 season, kept the current playing surface, Vrooman Field, intact while building new grandstands, restrooms, concessions stands, coaches’ offices, student-athlete locker rooms and lounges, team meeting space, former player locker room, umpire locker room, state-of-the-art $700,000 video board and scoreboard, video instruction system, athletic training room, laundry facilities, premium fan areas and media areas.

“This facility has some of the best components from the top collegiate and minor league baseball stadiums in addition to having our own unique features,” said head baseball coach Gary Gilmore. “We will now have all the amenities college players are looking for in order to maximize their potential and realize their goal: playing in Omaha. I am very excited to see what this program can achieve, combining our tradition with what we now have in terms of facilities.”

CCU baseball and softball renderings 1 web

Doug Kingsmore Stadium at Clemson University

Kingsmore Stadium Entry Gate webOriginally constructed in 1970, Clemson’s Doug Kingsmore Stadium has undergone several renovations, beginning in 2002. Clad entirely in brick and cast-stone with a wrought iron and brick pilaster fence, the stadium emulates the feeling of a classic major league ballpark. Green roofing extends to cover more of the stands and the press box was doubled in size to accommodate media covering the game. The patio area outside the press box sits above the existing stands along the first and third-base lines and can be used for receptions and other events. Four unified batting cages were constructed outside the right-field fence, and the dugouts were expanded to nearly twice as large.

The addition of ticket booths, concession stands with an adjoining picnic area and enhanced fan and player amenities also made the ballpark more accessible and fan-friendly. Prior to the 2010 season, grandstands were constructed behind the left-field fence, adding 1,000 seats. The most recent renovations were completed in 2015 and entailed construction of a new three-story building behind the first-base dugout housing a state-of-the-art clubhouse, coaches’ offices and a players’ lounge, among other amenities, and the addition of premium seating behind home plate.

Doug Kingsmore Stadium has approximately 4,500 permanent seats, but is capable of holding more than 6,270 fans thanks to the hill area along the left-field line – a popular seating option among Clemson students. In 2016, the Tigers were No. 9 in the country and No. 1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference in average attendance (4,664).

Kingsmore Stadium Aerial web

Both of the stadiums were designed in collaboration with Populous.