Virginia’s Davenport Field, home to the Cavaliers’ baseball program, will be getting a face lift this summer. The school announced Friday that work has begun on a new playing surface at the 5,074-capacity stadium.
The $1 million project includes the installation of a new irrigation and drainage system in addition to a sand-based grass playing field. The funding came from a combination of donations and athletics department maintenance reserves. Davenport Field did not previously have a drainage system.
“It became obvious during the 2009-10 winter and shortly thereafter that the field drainage was inadequate to deal with inclement weather events,” executive associate athletics director Jon Oliver said in a school-issued statement. “The playability of the surface has come into question numerous times over the last couple of years leading to delays or cancellation of games.”
Plans also call for a new synthetic warning track and dugout flooring surfaces, as well as a new FieldTurf collar around home plate. The project is scheduled to complete by Sept. 5, when the new sod is installed.
This isn’t the first enhancement made to Davenport Field, which opened in 2002. In 2010, the stadium underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation that included an expanded clubhouse and coaches’ locker room, climate-controlled hitting facility, new visiting team and umpires’ locker rooms, weight room, Hall of Fame room, meeting room, video room and a bigger training room.
This past season was was the sixth time Virginia hosted an NCAA regional at Davenport Field. The Cavaliers have also hosted a pair of NCAA super regionals (2010, 2011) since the stadium opened.
“The new playing surface being installed at Davenport Field is one of many great improvements that have made to our ballpark over the last 10 years,” Virginia Coach Brian O’Connor said. “The University of Virginia and our athletics department have continued to show their commitment to having one of the top baseball facilities in the nation. The new sand-based field , drainage system and synthetic warning track will allow our team to play on the field 30 to 45 minutes after a heavy rainfall. The new field will give our players on of the best playing surfaces in the country.”