What’s Happening with the Dudy Noble Field Expansion/Renovation?


Last spring and summer we heard the rumblings about Dudy Noble Field being renovated and/or expanded. There were rumors and discussions among fans about what needed to be done to bring the “Carnegie Hall of college baseball” up to par with the rest of the SEC West stadiums.

Then in August Scott Stricklin confirmed that the athletic department was indeed going to do something about the facility.

"We have begun preliminary planning for the future of DNF. Don’t know when we will be far enough along to share renderings, but we have some priorities that will shape those conversations. And, at some point, we will engage fans to get their thoughts before we get too far down the road.Priorities include improving aesthetics, maintaining ability to have large crowds (14,000-plus) without making the place swallow up moderate-sized crowds (say 5,000 or so), adding restrooms and concessions, enhancing and maintaining the Left Field Lounge and providing new premium seat opportunities. And, of course, we always look for ways to enhance the areas that directly impact our players, such as locker rooms."

The preliminary planning is still on-going. In an interview with Gene’sPage ($), Stricklin said they have concepts but are not ready to release them to the public. He mentioned that he wanted some more answers to questions before they release any renderings but also there would still be some unanswered questions once they release them. So basically it is really hard to gauge how far along the architects and designers have come in the past year.

As for the second part of that first paragraph, Stricklin and staff did engage fans in the form of a “town hall” type meeting last October.  Basically the summary of that meeting was “nothing is off the table” and MSU deserved to have the best facility in the country. They gathered information from fans to determine their interests and preferences, then set out to get some concepts of potential work that could be done….which we have yet to see.

So, where are we? A year into knowing that we will indeed improve Dudy Noble Field in some capacity and we sit (as fans) in the same chair we sat in from the beginning.

There’s no doubt the athletic department is consumed by the expansion of Davis Wade Stadium. It’s a massive project that is requiring a bunch of their attention to get ready for the changes that will occur by adding 5K more fans to the stadium, and making sure the new amenities are used and taken advantage of like they are supposed to. With the project under two months until completion, going head-first into DNF probably isn’t a good way to prioritize. Because, after all, football drives the bus for the entire athletic department. Baseball may be able to afford it’s own car, but it isn’t a major money-maker…nor is it the primary interest for most fans. Get the football expansion done right and having fans view it as a major success will go a long way towards them wanting to get the checkbook out for the Dude.

In that interview with Gene Swindoll, Stricklin also mentioned that the baseball project could cost as much as $10-15 million. When asked if it could cost as much as $30-40 million he kind of avoided the question.

If this project is going to be done right it will have to cost more than $10-15 million. Most hard-core baseball fans agree that a major overhaul is needed with everything….except maybe the Left Field Lounge (that will probably be altered in some way – sorry but lawyers and risk management folks will force their hand). Most of the new parks like Alabama, Arkansas and LSU cost in the $30-40 million range. We probably aren’t going to move it to another site on campus, but what we’re going to do (what we were promised at least) will potentially cost about the same as starting from scratch.

That means we need money. We don’t currently know how much has been put towards this project. How excited are baseball fans about it? That will determine the concepts that we eventually see….hopefully soon.

The time-table for this project’s completion is 3-5 years…with a heavier emphasis on it being ready three years from now. But I’d rather wait six years and do it right with a $30 million project than slap a $10 million band-aid that’s ready in two years.

As far as what needs to be done, be sure to check out Todd4State’s article from back in October on the subject.