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Mississippi State explores ballpark options

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Mississippi State

College powerhouse Mississippi State is looking at more upgrades to Dudy Noble Field at Polk–DeMent Stadium, both for the benefit of fans and players.

The current setup at 15,000-capacity Dudy Noble Field dates back to 1987 and reflects the prevailing design ethos: emphasis on grandstand seating, less on amenities. On the plus side, there's a proud tradition in the Mississippi State baseball program and the existing setup allows for players to work out at a shared practice facility with the football team; on the minus side, it's on the cramped side.

There are some big names associated with the project, including Populous and Janet Marie Smith, Mississippi State alumnus and ballpark guru currently working for the Los Angeles Dodgers on the makeover of Dodger Stadium. From Scout.com:

“Our goal is to create a master plan of stadium improvements,” [moderator Jack] Allin said. “We hope to create a new, unified aesthetic where fans and players, and future players, say ‘that’s a good-looking stadium’, and create a top-tier facility for our student athletes and accommodate our staff’s needs. And of course create the best game-day experience for our fans.”...

In recent years there have been varied upgrades to the stadium, not least complete replacement of all chairbacks three seasons ago with a ‘refacing’ and painting of the original concrete interior. Vinyl decorative wraps of the support pillars and some concrete fascias have lent a more modern look but this dressing doesn’t disguise the facts. PDS has fallen behind at least half its SEC counterparts, and now both Alabama and Georgia have announced costly upgrade projects that will put them too ahead of State in the stadium standings.

Underneath, the home locker room has had frequent makeovers, while both dugouts were done-over as well with improved drainage. Just this past fall the field had a new, artificial surface installed from foul-lines out to the fences as well as around home plate. The playing field itself was completely resurfaced, including a new draining system, for the 2011 season.

We are in the midst of a serious arms race in college baseball. Mississippi State has been at the lead every time there's been an across-the-board upgrade in college facilities, so look for some sort of ballpark makeover.

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