If you’ve been to the athletic facilities at the south end of campus over the last few years, you’ve likely seen some big changes. From the National Soccer Development Centre which officially opened last year to a renovated Wright Field, from the Gerald McGavin Rugby Centre to the UBC Tennis Centre — lots is different out at Thunderbird Park.
The last piece of that shiny, $110 million sports facility puzzle is now complete, with the $5 million yet-to-be-named baseball stadium finally open for play.
The stadium finishes a 10-year revamp of facilities between Thunderbird Boulevard and West 16th Avenue that began in 2008.
“The baseball stadium now completes a $110 million transformation of Thunderbird Park. We are so proud of the diversity of uses in this park — we have students, kids, adults, pro-athletes, varsity athletes, weekend warriors, recreational athletes and everything in between taking place at this precinct,” said Kavie Toor, senior director of facilities, recreation and sports partnerships with UBC Athletics.
“Ten years ago, this was a sea of water-logged grass fields and some aging facilities. The transformation has been remarkable.”
The new baseball stadium features a new 480-person grandstand, a press box, an artificial, two-tone playing surface, a new scoreboard, Big League dugouts and professional-grade lights.
Though it is used by many in the community, including youth clubs, it is also currently home to UBC’s baseball team, who have been quietly benefiting from the new turf throughout their season.
UBC baseball already reaps the rewards of the neighbouring $3.5 million 12,500 square foot indoor training facility that opened in 2015. With four batting cages and a pitching area, the space allows for indoor training throughout the rainy Vancouver winters.
Now, the Thunderbirds have both world class indoor and outdoor facilities at their disposal, making their home the premiere university baseball facility in Canada.
This season, the T-Birds have won 11 of 13 games on home turf, including two wins against the league-leading Lewis-Clarke State. They have an overall conference record of 15-9.
Evidently, they are comfortable in their new stadium.
Your last chance to see the T-Birds at home is this coming weekend, as they host back-to-back double-headers against Corban on Saturday and Sunday. Though playoffs are just around the corner and a possibility for the ’Birds, they won’t play any games at home.