A master plan of facilities for athletics teams — dubbed the Sycamores Sports District Vision — on Indiana State University’s campus, including proposed upgraded baseball and softball facilities, was introduced at a Thursday luncheon in the Magna Carta Room of Federal Hall.
Indiana State Athletic Director Sherard Clinkscales and ISU President Deborah J. Curtis opened up the presentation by discussing the vision that the athletic department has facility-wise for numerous sports programs. Curtis stressed that this announcement is not a campaign, but that it is something that could definitely become a reality in the near future.
“Without a vision, we have no goal,” Curtis said. “Visions are very important.”
Clinkscales, in his third year as athletic director, echoed Curtis, as well as saying that “in order to accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act.” He said these projects are “crucial to staying competitive in the Missouri Valley Conference and in the ever-changing landscape of college athletics.”
Clinkscales handed the presentation over to two members of HKS, an international design and architectural firm located in Dallas that is partnering with Indiana State. HKS Vice President Kevin Suter and HKS architect Fred Ortiz spoke briefly about the potential plans for a new baseball and softball complex, a football stadium located on campus, renovations to Memorial Stadium and a new basketball practice facility.
The HKS group has done projects like these for many Power 5 conferences around the country, as well as multiple Major League Baseball teams. Suter spoke to the coaches’ competitiveness and desire to make a statement as the fuel for this project, in addition to add a new look and identity to Sycamore athletics to attract recruits from across the country.
Out of the four major projects announced, Suter and Ortiz started by describing a new baseball and softball complex. The current baseball complex is located between 1st Street and 3rd Street, while the proposed softball ballpark will be “combined” with the baseball facility on the northwest corner of 3rd Street and Locust street, anchoring the north end of this new proposed “athletic district.” This combined approach is said to be planned to create synergy between the baseball and softball programs.
There will be a new facility near the outfield with office space that will have views into both fields. The shared space can be used for team dining and team-related functions during the week, while also acting as a flex space for viewing and dining for alumni, fans and donors. Suter says that this new “flex” style of building spaces that can be used for multiple things is a major trend among the MLB spring training facilities that they have been working on. Other key additions would be a large plaza to move through to get to both fields, as well as a large terrace overlooking both fields.
Next up was a new on-campus football stadium that will seat 8,000 fans and will be located on the intersection of 1st Street and Chestnut Street, across from the track facility. The connectivity and sensitivity to campus and with other sports, such as track and field, was highlighted, with the stadium having great potential views back to campus from the press box. Soccer facilities, coach offices and locker rooms will also be included in this space in addition to football facilities. Suter talked about a free-flowing wide atmosphere that strongly interacts with the street and how putting a stadium on campus can lead to “new traditions” for ISU football.
The other football project announced was renovations to Memorial Stadium, the current stadium for ISU’s football and soccer teams. Ortiz spoke to removing specific seats to honor the memorial arch next to the stadium, while also adding a new interactive and more “energized” concourse. The new proposed concourse will have a new team meeting room, press boxes, and press facilities. This concourse will be located between the practice field and the game field.
Lastly, a basketball practice facility was announced, which will be at the corner of Cherry Street and 1st Street, next to the Athletic Annex on campus, anchoring the southern end of the athletic district.
Clinkscales spoke to the importance of this as he stated that basketball is the biggest revenue generator for the school, and ISU is the only school in the MVC without a practice facility. The facility will have men’s practice areas on one side with women on the other, held together by shared facilities in the middle. The lobby will publicly accessible. Ample daylight was another thing that stood out about the facility, with a lot of natural light coming into the weight room and the courts.
There was no timeline announced for these projects or confirmation if they would ever come to fruition, but it leaves room for excitement to Sycamore fans and athletes across the country.