BY LOGAN LOWERY
STARKVILLE – Dudy Noble Field will be getting a facelift.
One of the most recognizable venues in college baseball, Mississippi State’s home stadium will receive a $40 million upgrade which will include a double-tiered grandstand, berm seating, approximately 50 skyboxes and a welcome plaza honoring past players.
“It’s hard to imagine we’ve been in that facility for nearly 30 years,” said MSU director of athletics Scott Stricklin. “But it’s time to reset the bar a little bit and take another step. We want to give our players, coaches and most importantly our fans the kind of facility that befits this wonderful baseball program that we have.”
Twenty five of the skyboxes will be located in the grandstands while the others will be located in an area that will be known as the Left Field Lofts. Each loft will feature two bedrooms, a bath, kitchen and living space and will be available for lease year round.
The Left Field Lounge will remain as well just beyond the outfield fence. However, the 86 spaces in the Left Field Lounge will become permanent structures, with current pass holders given the option to customize their spots.
“My first thought was we’d better not mess this up,” Stricklin said. “The Left Field Lounge is something that’s really synonymous with Mississippi State and our baseball program. I said all along we were going to have a Left Field Lounge. The key was how to make sure it’s safe and accessible to as many fans as possible.
“We didn’t want cookie cutter or a bunch of concrete pads out there. We want each one of those 86 spots to be its own place and be unique. We want whoever is paying for that spot to have some ownership from the standpoint of how it’s designed and customized.”
The design team of Wier Boerner Allin Architecture and Populous produced the Dudy Noble Field master plan. Populous has designed 20 of the 30 parks currently in Major League Baseball along with TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., home of the College World Series.
Construction will commence once $20 million in private funding is collected.
“This is a monumental day for our baseball program and something every Bulldog player and fan deserves,” said MSU coach John Cohen. “As a former player and now coach, I know the greatest fans in college baseball will take action to ensure our players and coaching staff have the necessary amenities and resources to recruit and complete at the highest level.”
The new stadium capacity has yet to be determined. An on-campus record crowd of 15,586 saw the Diamond Dogs defeat rival Ole Miss 6-5 in 10 innings on April 12 this past season.
The school already holds the top 11 on-campus crowds in college baseball history and 17 of the top 25.
BY LOGAN LOWERY