The Arlington County Board approved a 20-year agreement with the University on Thursday, mandating that GW provides at least $3 million to upgrade and improve Baseball Field #6 at Barcroft Park.
The improvements to the field will include synthetic turf, renovations to the dugouts, creation of a press box, a ticket and concession area, stadium seating, a bullpen and a reconfigured parking lot. Head coach Steve Mrowka said the new field will give his team an added incentive for stronger, more successful play.
“A new facility will energize the entire program in a lot of areas. Primarily we hope to see a much improved effort in our recruiting, and prospective student-athletes,” Mrowka said. “With a state-of-the-art facility, it will give us many more opportunities to practice at a higher level and keep our players energized to get work done.”
The renovations to Barcroft, which has been the home of the Colonials since 1993, have been a focus of the ongoing review by the Department of Athletics. GW has always been responsible for the routine maintenance, upkeep and improvement of the field, but criticism over its poor condition led the University Board of Trustees Athletics Committee to contact the Arlington County Board to formalize their agreement.
Under the new agreement, GW will contribute annually for maintenance, operations and utilities of the field and the shared supporting facilities, based on GW’s pro-rated share of field use. The Colonials will use the field for games and practices for 20 years, during which time GW will contribute, based on its percentage use of the field, toward the cost of replacing the synthetic turf.
“Since we’ve had an idea that we’re going to be doing this, we’ve had many discussions. They’re all fired up, very excited,” Mrowka said. “It’s going to be a little bit surreal at first for them. I think when they first get it, it will almost feel like a road game because we’re so used to playing at Barcroft as it is. I think they’ll play harder, better and really have a home feel.”
Arlington County will review and approve the design and construction documents for the field. The renovations are expected to increase the county’s annual maintenance costs for the field in fiscal year 2013 by $25,000 to $40,000.
Construction at Barcroft is expected to begin in October, and GW plans to start using the upgraded field in spring 2012.