Duke’s softball team is two years away from its first NCAA game, but work begins this week to prepare a space on East Campus for dugouts, batting cages and bleachers that will make up the Blue Devils’ new ballpark.
This month, Duke Facilities Management will oversee the start of construction on a new softball facility for Duke’s 27th - and newest - varsity sport. Games in the stadium begin in the spring of 2018 by the northwestern corner of Duke’s property at the Broad Street-West Markham Avenue intersection.Read More
The project on East Campus will include a new field and 500 seats for fans, as well as team meeting and study spaces, LED lighting, press boxes, batting cages and offices. The size and scope of the project are influenced by a variety of NCAA requirements for softball stadiums.
“It’s going to be a different feel from any other stadiums in the conference,” said Marissa Young, the first head softball coach in Duke’s history. “People will be able to roam from neighborhoods, freshmen can walk over, and parking will be easy.”
Handling the project is architectural and engineering firm EwingCole, which has been involved in stadiums for the New York Giants and Jets, Philadelphia Phillies and universities like Monmouth, George Mason and Drexel.
The field will sit about 50 feet north from the edge of the field hockey field, Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium, creating a women’s sports complex. The walking trail that surrounds East Campus will remain intact during and after construction of the new field, and fans can watch games from the grassy hill surrounding the space. Construction will require removal of some trees, but trees removed will be replaced by new plantings.
Steve Carrow, project manager for Facilities Management who is overseeing the construction, noted that the location was selected because the field fit into other athletic venues on East Campus and offered the proper amount of space to meet all NCAA and city of Durham requirements.
“Our goal is for the feel to still be like an open park,” Carrow said.
A new entrance will be created in the western portion of the campus stone wall to allow for pedestrian access from the corner of East Campus near Broad Street and West Markham Avenue, providing an easy path to the stadium.
“From the start, we’ll be in competition to host the ACC tournament because of the investment in such a spectacular stadium,” Young said. “I’m looking forward to having the Duke community be a part of it all.”