HARRISONBURG, Va. – James Madison Athletics will begin construction July 5 on an expansion project to its Veterans Memorial Park softball venue while also improving interior space within Memorial Hall.
The project will expand seating capacity to 1,500 via the addition of permanent seating structures above the current seating along both the first- and third-base lines. The project will also upgrade lighting to broadcast quality standards, replace the padding that surrounds the playing field and expand seating capacity in the press box.
"We are excited to embark on this expansion project for our softball facility," Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne said. "Softball has been among our highest-achieving programs with multiple conference championships and noteworthy NCAA postseason success. The softball program has deep community ties, which has resulted in capacity crowds. While we have addressed this with temporary solutions for years, there was a strong desire to pursue permanent structural expansion to match the interest. This project will also better position JMU to host NCAA Regionals with improved lighting, expanded seating and increased press seating space."
Nielsen Builders, which is also serving as general contractor on the Convocation Center renovation, was awarded the construction bid for the project. Site work will commence on July 5 with scheduled completion the first week of February, 2023, in time for the first home contests of the 2023 spring season in early March.
Inside Memorial Hall, the entrance to the baseball and softball team areas will be remodeled with improved branding. The softball locker room will also be completely renovated and upgraded. Both interior projects are slated for summer 2022 completion.
Veterans Memorial Park debuted in 2010 as the new home for JMU baseball and softball following the university's purchase of the former Harrisonburg High School. The complex includes a 1,200-seat baseball venue at Eagle Field and the softball field with a previous permanent capacity of 500.
The university has previously installed temporary bleachers at softball during most seasons to expand temporary capacity and would have the ability to do so again if warranted by demand following the permanent expansion.
Memorial Hall features office space, meeting rooms, locker rooms, academic tutoring space, batting cages, pitching areas, sports medicine and strength and conditioning for both sport programs.