On Tuesday, Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger announced that an anonymous donor family contributed a record-breaking $60 million toward the construction of a state-of-the-art baseball complex. However, the news wasn’t met with excitement by all, and some students have mixed opinions on the matter.
The new facility will be equipped with a number of amenities including an indoor training area, a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) space, a study lounge and new press suites. In the announcement, Stenger emphasized the significance of the donation not just for the athletics department, but for BU as a whole.
“A gift like this will obviously benefit our baseball team, but we also think that it will have an impact on our athletics department and the entire University,” Stenger said. “Gifts like this get headlines … But equally important is the impact it has on our other current and future donors. It helps generate pride among friends and alumni who will, in turn, will look for ways to engage with their passion on the campus.”
Although Stenger holds high hopes for what the new facility can provide for the University, others are less optimistic. Craig Specht, a senior double-majoring in history and philosophy, politics and law, said he is happy to see donors willing to donate to BU but feels that the funds could have been allocated elsewhere.
“I am appreciative that someone is willing to donate such a large sum of money for our school, but I do feel the donation is a bit misguided,” Specht wrote in an email. “Students have been asking for better mental health facilities for years, which has been ignored by the administration. Just last semester, [the] administration expressed interest in renovating the Fine Arts Building and possibly introducing a School of Fine Arts for the University. Additionally, just yesterday it was announced that the 20:1 program would be eliminated from orientation. I believe that the money would be much better spent in these areas, as there has been a lot of student interest in improving these areas.”
Max Kurant, a freshman majoring in sociology, said he shares Specht’s sentiment and believes that these funds could have been more useful if donated to different departments at the University.
“I really personally don’t think that a baseball stadium is the best use of $60 million,” Kurant said. “I understand that this is a gift to the University to be used for a baseball stadium, but I really think that these funds could have been used in a more productive way.”
Although many students raised concerns over the use of the money, the family donor chose to benefit the baseball team exclusively, prohibiting BU from using the funds elsewhere.
Construction on the new complex is expected to begin within a week, according to Stenger. This construction process is estimated to create around 473 new jobs and is expected to be completed in time for the 2021 baseball season. Director of Athletics Patrick Elliott believes this new complex will birth opportunities to the program and bring BU’s baseball program to national attention.
“This new baseball stadium complex will provide our baseball student-athletes with a state-of-the-art competition and training complex,” Elliot said. “It will attract high-quality, prospective student-athletes who want to obtain an education at a highly acclaimed academic institution while having the opportunity to maximize their skills in what will be a perennial, nationally recognized championship baseball program.”