SUNY Red Dragon Ball Field Getting Multi-Million Dollar Upgrade
For those spectators attending baseball games in the spring of 2020, they will see a brand-new turf surface along with other state-of-the-art enhancements as part of a multi-million-dollar upgrade to the overall facility. The completion of the project was phase one of a two-phase plan that includes the softball field, which is projected to be completed sometime in 2020. The field turf for baseball gives Oneonta the first and only such full-field surface in the SUNYAC conference.
"SUNY Oneonta is committed to providing the best opportunities for every student to compete at the highest level and this rehabilitation project is an example of that," stated Director of Athletics Tracey Ranieri. "The team has been training and competing off-campus and we are excited to bring baseball back to our campus and our fan base. Our Oneonta Facilities experts and architect were instrumental in crossing every "T" for a perfect outcome. The icing on the cake is our ability to celebrate one of Oneonta's baseball legends', Coach Don Axtell, as we name the scoreboard and create an endowment in his honor. The generosity of baseball alumni for this project was amazing."
"I think it goes without saying how fortunate we are to be witnessing such an outstanding upgrade to Red Dragon Baseball Field," said Head Baseball Coach Ben Grimm. "For our current and former players, to be able to call Red Dragon Baseball Field home, is very exciting and having a turf field will allow us to play at home more consistently. Also, to be a part of the scoreboard naming process for Coach Axtell is unique and we are very excited for his family to be a part of such a great honor."
The baseball field was first constructed in 1967 with the first season played in the spring of 1968. Since that time, there have been improvements and additions such as a team locker room, bathrooms, a press box and a concession stand. Improvement projects also included enhanced internet service and a sound system.
The entire facility was graded and leveled, and a new drainage system put in place prior to the laying down of the turf. Brand new fencing was added around the entire facility including the bullpens.
The new state-of-the-art scoreboard, which was made possible by the generous gifts of former players, the 2018-19 baseball team and other donors, will be dedicated in the spring at a ceremony scheduled for Mar. 21st. The scoreboard will be dedicated in honor of Hall of Fame baseball coach Don Axtell, who spent 30 years at the helm of the SUNY Oneonta baseball program. The college will also be holding its official ribbon cutting as part of the day's events.
The resurfacing of the baseball field is the latest in a series of multi-million-dollar facility upgrades over the past few years for SUNY Oneonta athletics. In the summer of 2015, both All College Field and Red Dragon Field got field turf surfaces while shortly thereafter in the fall, the softball facility received a grandstand, press box and new dugouts.
There have also been facility enhancements and upgrades to the Alumni Field House, which is home to the volleyball and basketball teams, as well as the indoor practice facility for all the athletic teams. The upgrades to this facility have included major graphic projects in the atrium as well as the lower locker room level of the building. Recently, a two-year project that renovated all the locker room spaces was completed, which allows every athletic team to have their own space. These renovations were undertaken thanks to gifts and grants raised for the Alumni Field House Endowment, which provided the funding for this project.