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Barnhart: $45 million baseball facility planned for Alumni Drive

Did Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart make any promises to new baseball coach Nick Mingione in regard to upgrading facilities?

Barnhart basically said Tuesday night the answer would be yes.

“We’re in that process. We have spent about $4 million in design. We’re in it. We’re heavily invested in it. It will go to the Board of Trustees in the fall Trustees meetings. We’ll then hopefully sign the contracts and get going to probably just after the football season ends,” Barnhart said.

“We’re putting the stadium where a parking lot currently is. So we’ll use that through the football season. That will give us time to get the contract signed.

“I want to repeat, it’s part of an overarching university plan. The strategic plan has changed a couple times since I’ve been at Kentucky. The initial plan was for the stadium to stay where it was. As time has gone on, that plan has changed a little bit.

“So the footprint of the stadium will now be moved to Alumni Drive, above where the soccer stadium is. It will replace the soccer practice field. In its place will go the tennis facility. The tennis facility will move from where it currently is and go to where baseball currently sits. That will free up that entire area for the university to do some things they desire to do, whether that is rec space, parking. It’s part of an overarching master plan of the university. It benefits everybody.

“It gets us an athletic village on the outside of the perimeter of campus, about 12,000 cars that drive by it every day, which is very helpful to us, especially for the sports that compete outdoors. It gives us a chance to have some parking availability that’s a little tougher for us in the internal part of campus and frees some things up for everyone else. That’s the goal.

“It will be about a $45 million facility. We are very close to putting the finishing touches on the design. It has been worked at for a good long time now. I think we’re in a really good spot. We’ve got our funding model in place and we’re ready to go. Just awaiting the final approval of the Trustees in the fall and we’ll take off.

“After that it’s about 16 months. Takes about 16 months to finish the product, as soon as we get the first shovel in the ground. That’s where we are.”

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