In February, Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger announced that an anonymous alumni family donated $60 million to BU for the construction of a new baseball complex. Since then, the current baseball stadium has sat untouched.
Although the construction was set to begin just a couple of weeks after Stenger’s Feb. 11 announcement, progress has yet to be made. After construction bids were received, the project came in over budget, which led to the new stadium being delayed, according to Sally Oaks, business affairs director for Physical Facilities. During a BU Council meeting on March 20, Oaks said BU is currently redesigning the plans based on feedback from the bids.
“We opted to reject all bids and did some real fine-tuning of the design of this,” Oaks said. “We found some elements that had obviously driven the cost by millions of dollars as well as a very tight schedule.”
John Hartrick, associate athletics director of communications, called the previous schedule “aggressive” and wrote in an email that the proposed speed of the construction led to bids coming in higher than originally expected. The project will now span from June 2020 to fall 2021. Initially, officials forecast that the stadium would be completed before the spring 2021 baseball season.
Because of the delays, the baseball team will need to rework its spring 2021 schedule. Hartrick noted that the team will most likely pursue similar venues as they had for this spring season before the NCAA canceled all spring sports because of coronavirus concerns. With the initial construction plans overlapping with the 2020 season, the team was scheduled to play home games at NYSEG Stadium and Cornell University.
“I would personally imagine that we would pursue the same venues next spring that we had initially planned to use this spring for home games,” Hartrick wrote. “But, that will all have to be determined at a later date.”
In the meantime, the University is working to redesign the construction plans, removing some of the underground utilities and fine-tuning certain costly aspects of the project. With the redesign, Oaks hopes construction companies will set better prices.
“We anticipate seeing much, much better bids in the next round,” Oaks said.