Oklahoma Christian University is in the midst of upgrading the facilities at Dobson Field, including a new concession stand, press box and public restroom making it feel more like a professional baseball field.
Executive Director of Facilities and Construction Management Steve Scovel said the new facility will be similar to the softball field. The facilities have been under construction for about six weeks, but the updates were not part of an overall master plan for the baseball field, according to Scovel. Donors completely funded this new addition to the field.
“We had to take down the top third of the bleachers to build this,” Scovel said. “The existing bleachers were never really full during a game because a lot of people like to sit on the ground instead of the bleachers. So we decided to take down some of the bleachers to allow us to bring down the height enough to build the press box on top without it being too tall. Our plan is to reuse the bleachers in the future somewhere else.”
Scovel said the new facilities might attract more people to the games because the public restrooms are convenient for those with kids or are older.
“It’s more handy, and it’ll be a better experience for the people who do come,” Scovel said. “The hope is to make the ballpark more of its own venue rather than just a field. Right now, it never feels like you’ve arrived. The softball field has that feeling, so the overall plan is to create a venue where the baseball field will begin to have its own identity.”
In addition to concessions and public restrooms, the new building will provide a space for the press.
“Right now, the press box brings their own plastic table and sets up by the third base dugout,” Scovel said. “And they can’t really see everything because the dugout is in their way, so the new press box will give them their own space and air conditioning, and keep them out of the weather. It’s two-tiered and will fit up to eight people.”
According to Scovel, the baseball field will have everything it needs once this project is completed.
“I think it will make it a better experience for people watching and playing the game,” Scovel said. “It’s going give the ballfield a better sense of place for everybody.”
Senior Garett Hill, a pitcher on the baseball team, said the updates to the field will enhance the game environment.
“It will make the field look a little bit more updated to keep up with some of the other facilities from teams we play in our conference,” Hill said. “It will also be used as a recruiting tool to show incoming players that the school is not only committed to bringing in good athletes but also committed to having good facilities.”
According to Hill, fans might not notice much of a difference in the facilities, but it will impact the players and provide them with a more professional-feeling environment.
“For the fans, it might be a shorter walk for a bathroom break,” Hill said. “But I believe it will be a better atmosphere for the baseball guys to get excited to play in. I hope the updates make it a more enjoyable game for the student body to attend since most of our current fans consist of family and significant others of the baseball guys.”
According to Scovel, the building’s exterior will be completed by the end of the week, and the project is anticipated to be finished in October.