Washington, which had played at Graves Field since the 1960s, will open the 1998 season at the new Husky Ballpark. Graves has been torn down and during the off-season, the new field has been built.
For this season, the Huskies will play at the new park with temporary bleachers. Even without the stadium completed, the new Husky Ballpark is a major step up for the program. Here's a rundown of what has already been completed for the 1998 season.
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The infield consists of an artificial turf playing surface with a radius depth of 105 feet measured from 18 inches in front of the pitchers mound. The artificial turf radius will cover the entire infield and span from each dugout. This infield is the largest artificial turf infield ever installed for a college baseball field in the United States.
The outfield is a natural grass surface with a complete in-ground irrigation and state of the art drainage system. The grass is a mixture of bluegrass, rye and fescue, which will make the facility playable in any weather.
The Warning Track
The entire field is surrounded by a 12-foot wide synthetic warning track. This modern-style warning track, combined with the artificial turf infield, will make this facility relatively maintainence free.
Both dugouts will be level with the playing surface and will be eight feet deep and 65 feet long. The Huskies will be located in the first base dugout and the visitors at third base. Both will be equipped with a storage area at the outfield end and both dugouts will be replaced with new dugouts when the stadium is built.
The home bullpen is located in foul territory on the right field side while the visitors pen is located behind the left field fence. Both bullpens are fenced off from fair territory, but have direct access to the field. The home bullpen has four mounds, mainly for practice use. With artificial turf and tarps, both areas will be available in most weather conditions.
At a cost of more than $6 million dollars, the Husky Ballpark will be one of the finest baseball facilities in the nation. Plans call for the stadium to seat over 3,500 fans. There will be 1,608 theater-style seats, including 470 oversized seats with additional leg room. The remaining seating capacity will be bench seats along both lines.
The inner concourse level will be equipped with concession stands and rest rooms at both ends of the main stadium area. The outer main entry level will be equipped with concessions, rest rooms and a novelty shop for UW Baseball Wear. The Husky locker room, located behind the first-base dugout, is 40 feet wide by 65 feet long, while the visiting locker room is 30 by 46.
The ballpark will have an elevator leading to the enclosed press box and coaches offices, located above the grandstand level. Permanent lights will allow the Huskies to play night games on a regular basis and to bid to host future NCAA Regional tournaments.
The athletic department will be contributing more than $1.5 million to the project. The remaining $4.5 million portion of the project is being funded by the newly created UW Baseball Foundation. Numerous naming rights opportunities are available for those donors wishing to donate a piece of Husky Ballpark and creat a legacy.
Giving levels of all ranges are available and donors making gifts of $5,000 or more will be publically acknowledged at specific locations throughout the park.
The stadium will also be widely available for community use during the Huskies' off-season.
For the 1998 season, the Huskies will play on the new field with stadium construction in the future, but upon its completion, the new Husky Ballpark will rival any college stadium in the nation, thanks to both the fan and player accomodations.