Auburn, Ala.--Despite being recently voted as one of America's top college baseball home fields, Auburn's Plainsman Park has fallen behind many in the Southeastern Conference in recent years with schools such as LSU, Texas A&M, Arkansas, South Carolina and Alabama building state-of-the-art facilities. With that in mind Auburn Tigers announced on Thursday plans to upgrade the ballpark in several areas, something Coach Butch Thompson said is a plus for the program.
"Personally, I'm excited, our players are excited, the fans are going to be excited and the potential student-athlete that are going to choose Auburn are going to be excited over this," Thompson said. "We have an unbelievably timeless landscape and facility at Plainsman Park and to start showing this commitment by the university to renovate and keep making these additions to stay competitive in the best league in America is so positive. As we start growing in our first year, just starting to see these things happening with our park in year one is exciting."
The biggest addition to the stadium will be a new high definition video board where the current scoreboard and video board is stationed in left-center field. Measuring 24 feet x 62 feet, four inches, the video board will also include a new sound system.
Other additions to the ballpark include replacing the stadium's chair back seating, something that was long overdue, as well as adding a new LED light system. That will allow the lights to be turned on and off without any delay. They can also be used for light shows and things that will add a new dimension to the overall experience.
Originally completed in 1950, Plainsman Park (capacity 4,096) underwent a major renovation in 1996 and has had multiple additions completed in the subsequent years. In 2016 it was named one of the top ballparks in the country by D1 Baseball.
The 1996 remodel was designed with an old-time baseball feel while also holding true with architectural elements featured prominently on the Auburn campus. The ballpark features the brick backstop of Wrigley Field, the dark green chair backs seats of Camden Yards and the Green Monster of Fenway Park.
Thompson said keeping that feel and atmosphere in Plainsman Park while also adding to the overall experience is of the utmost importance moving forward.
"That's paramount, to keep this timeless feel, to keep the identity of Plainsman Park," he said. "It matches Auburn. The real estate position for Plainsman Park is right in the middle of campus. So many visitors that come here, opposing coaches, this has always been one of their favorite venues to play in because it kind of gives you the Wrigley Field, the Fenway (Park), that kind feel. From the red brick to the green and white, every one of these enhancements we're going to make must stay in line with the original blueprint we put out there."