The BatCats are in the midst of their 50th and final season of playing ball inside Cliff Hagan Stadium. Come next spring, the Kentucky baseball team is expected to be all moved into their new home. They’re just going down the road – the new stadium will be off Alumni Drive between Kroger Field and the Bell Soccer Complex.
The new stadium – which has not yet been named – costs a reported $49 million. It will feature permanent seating for 2,500 fans with additional space for bleachers. That would bring total attendance up to 7,000 fans, making the new stadium an attractive option for NCAA Tournament games.
For the team, the new stadium will have AstroTurf, a team lounge, an updated locker room, indoor hitting and pitching areas, coaching offices and a recruiting room. For the fans, there will be chair-back seating, suites and a new club area.
It’s a major improvement for the program, but one thing will be missing: The Cliff. The free, student-run area overlooking the field is a very popular spot during the games (speaking from experience), and drawings of the new stadium do not include anything similar, unless students would be able to see the game from the grassy areas (shown below on the right side of the image) while bleachers are not in use.
So, what’s happening to Cliff Hagan stadium? Original reports say it will be torn down to serve as the space for a state-of-the-art tennis facility. Currently, the UK tennis teams’ indoor base is the Hilary J. Boone center, which – again, speaking from experience – desperately needs an upgrade. Here’s an interpretation of the projected $20 million tennis complex: