Ground-Breaking Event

Bigwigs in Happy Valley as construction of new baseball park begins.

The name is a mouthful: Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

There are some issues with the obvious shortened versions, as well. Med-Lub sounds like something you'd buy at the drug store, hoping a neighbor doesn't walk by while you're checking out. And M.F. Lubrano may not go over well with Anthony Lubrano, a key player in this project.

So until a catchier moniker is devised, it will remain Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Groundbreaking on the $24 million baseball facility, which will serve Centre County and Penn State, is slated for 2:30 p.m. at the corner of Curtin Road and Porter Road near Beaver Stadium.

Among the luminaries expected to be on hand for the event are Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, Republican state Sen. Jake Corman, officials from the Altoona Curve and the usual cast of characters from Penn State's athletic department.

No word on who will turn the first patch of dirt (we're guessing Rendell), but sources say Penn State had a special shovel made up for the event, complete with a baseball-bat handle. It is also not clear if the dignitaries will be wearing traditional ground-breaking hard hats or baseball helmets.

Completion of the 6,000-seat park is scheduled for late June 2006, in time for a short-season minor-league baseball team to compete in the facility next summer. The team will be owned by the same group which owns the AA Altoona Curve. Penn State will not play college baseball in the park until the 2007 season.

The stadium will be owned by Penn State. The minor-league team's management group will lease the facility while handling its day-to-day operation.

As for the cumbersome name, well, there is a good reason behind that. Lubrano is a former Penn State baseball player who is now president of a financial services company in Lionville, Pa. In 2002, he donated $2.5 million to the university to get this project rolling.

While at Penn State, Lubrano played for Chuck Medlar, the Nittany Lion coach from 1963-81 and an assistant for 14 years before that. Medlar went 312-141-6 as skipper at Penn State, and took the team to the College World Series in 1967 (it finished fifth).

FOS will be on hand to cover the groundbreaking. We'll have photos of the event posted on the site Wednesday evening.


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