An anonymous donor family has made an unprecedented $60 million donation to the Binghamton University baseball program, BU President Harvey Stenger announced on Tuesday. The donation will fund a brand-new complex around the current baseball field, increasing seating capacity and establishing an indoor training facility.
Stenger announced the donation in the Events Center alongside SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson, Director of Athletics Patrick Elliott and baseball head coach Tim Sinicki. All three gave remarks at the event. Other University officials, including numerous BU coaches, were also in attendance.
“Excellence begets excellence, so when you get a gift like this it recognizes that [BU] is a world class University, worthy of world-class contributions and transformative gifts,” Johnson said. “I think this is setting the stage for all the other campuses to come forward and to really step up to support the State University of New York.”
The $60 million donation is the largest donation in University history and the second-largest in SUNY history, behind a $150 million donation to Stony Brook in 2011 for medical science research. The amount of money fueling the baseball stadium project is more than the cost of the Events Center in 2004, which was constructed for slightly more than $50 million, when adjusted for inflation.
The last donation to the BU baseball program came in 2016, when an anonymous donor gave $2.2 million to have artificial turf installed on the field, as well as a videoboard and field lights put in place. The turf will be left untouched throughout the renovations. Stenger declined to comment on whether the latest gift was made by the same donor.
The project will be spearheaded by CSArch, an educational-planning design firm, and Fawley Bryant Architecture, which has previously worked with major league teams on their facilities. A video shown at the press conference depicts renderings of the facility, which will increase the stadium’s seating capacity from 464 to 1,500 seats. A VIP lounge and press suites will be added. Additionally, an indoor training facility will be built between the baseball field and the Events Center parking lots, featuring a full-sized infield and batting cages. The complex will also contain new locker rooms, a players’ lounge, a study lounge, a team store and a team meeting room.
“Fawley Bryant [Architecture] has done these kinds of facilities for major league teams, a lot of their spring training facilities as well as their professional stadiums,” Stenger said. “So they took pieces from those designs and incorporated it into this.”
According to Stenger, construction is expected to begin on the project within a week. The construction will create an estimated 473 new jobs and is expected to be completed within a year, in time for the 2021 baseball season. Sinicki said he hopes the new facility will help attract quality recruits to the program.
“I think it opens up recruiting to a different level,” Sinicki said. “We’ve recruited very good players in the past, but it’s been very regionalized and now maybe this opens it up to a different type of kid, in terms of where they’re from in the country … Really, it’ll be up to my staff and myself to continue to try to find the right guys for this program and this University.”
The project represents one of the most expensive upgrades to an America East sporting facility in recent years. In 2018, UMBC opened a new basketball facility, the UMBC Event Center, which cost $85 million, while Maine’s Cross Insurance Center, which opened in 2013, cost $65 million to build.
Edward Aaron contributed reporting to this article.