CONWAY — The work of demolishing Coastal Carolina’s old baseball stadium has been completed, but the construction of the new, renovated facility will be getting a later start than planned.
CCU athletic director Hunter Yurachek said Wednesday that some budgetary issues with the state could push construction of the project – which also includes a renovated softball stadium – back to January. With a 12-month estimate for completion, it’s possible the new venue wouldn’t be ready for the opening of the 2014 season as planned.
But that’s yet to be determined, and in the big picture it’s not a significant concern, Yurachek said.
“I think that’s the worst-case scenario,” he said. “The positive scenario for baseball is we’ve got a great venue to play at with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. We don’t have that similar opportunity for softball, so I want to make sure we get both of those venues done – but it’s more imperative we get softball done in a timely manner to start the 2014 season. With baseball, if we need to bleed a week or two [into the season] we have a venue that we can play in that’s fine.”
The renovations, announced as a $10.2 million project in January, will replace the 850-seat setup of Watson Stadium with a ballpark that boasts 2,500 permanent seats and the potential to accommodate as many as 5,000-6,000 fans for NCAA postseason events.
The old playing surface and outfield fence have been left intact, allowing the baseball team to continue practicing there, but the Chanticleers will play their 2013 home games (and any needs beyond that) at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. The softball team, meanwhile, will play its games this coming season at Market Common and Carolina Forest High School.
Yurachek said the budget matter concerns the difference between the design cost analysis and the actual construction document cost analysis.
“It’s just a delay. It’s just part of the state process, and the state’s working well with us right now. So it’s a bump in the road, but it’s not a hurdle that we can’t get over,” he said. “There’s a difference between the two [figures], so we’re just working through that difference to get them back closer together so we can move forward.”
He reiterated that there are no concerns the project will be shelved or delayed more significantly.
“We’re still proceeding,” Yurachek said. “We’ve got some budgetary issues we’re working through the state that might delay us a little bit, but we’re still planning on getting that project started and completed in time for the 2014 season. Our architects are very positive that we can get the baseball and softball stadiums done in 12 months.”
CCU baseball coach Gary Gilmore, who has long awaited a new stadium while building the Chants into a nationally-relevant program, isn’t fazed by the setback.
“It’s all out of my hands. All I want to do is support everybody,” Gilmore said. “The university and everyone has been awesome trying to do everything they can to pull this thing off on the timetable we had. We’ve run into a bump in the road here and there, but I know they’re committed to getting it done. It might not be on the exact timetable we were originally on, but it’s going to get done.
“The best part is going to those meetings and seeing my athletic director and our president and our vice president and all the administration say, ‘Hey, we’re not hacking this thing apart. This is what we’re building. We’re going to get it done – as is, as we want it done to give us a facility that’s one of the best in the country.’ And if it takes a few more months to get through all the red tape and a hiccup here or there, so be it.”
CCU basketball players overseas
Several former Coastal men’s basketball players are playing overseas this season, including two recent graduates.
Jon Pack, the Chants’ starting center last season, is playing in the Czech Republic and former forward Chris Gradnigo is playing in Austria, CCU head coach Cliff Ellis confirmed.
Additionally, Jo Harris (Slovakia), Chad Gray (Austria) and Mario Edwards (Brazil) are among the former Chants playing professionally this season.
“We take pride in the guys that are able to make it to another level,” Ellis said. “It’s a tribute to our program. It’s a tribute to our players. For me, it’s very rewarding because I get to see the fruits of their labor paying off.”
On the schedule
The Coastal men’s and women’s cross country teams have their final meet before the Big South championships as they compete in the Blue Ridge Mountain Open on Friday in Boone, N.C. ... The men’s golf team is in Jonesborough, Tenn., Friday through Sunday for its third tournament of the fall. ... The women’s golf team head to Norman, Okla., on Monday for the start of its third fall event. ... The men’s soccer team is at VMI on Saturday. ... The women’s soccer team is at UNC Asheville on Thursday before starting a three-game homestand Saturday morning against Presbyterian. ... Women’s tennis is at the UNC Charlotte Fall Invitational from Friday-Saturday. ... And the volleyball squad has home games Friday vs. Radford, Saturday vs. Liberty and an anticipated match Tuesday against South Carolina.
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318.