DECATUR — Millikin University's $5.5 million baseball stadium will be ready for use beginning with a Sept. 27 ribbon-cutting, the university announced on Wednesday.
Construction work on the Workman Family Baseball Field, which had been delayed due to the wet winter weather, is nearing completion. The stadium lights were placed this week and the artificial turf is currently being put down.
"There's been a ton of progress happening over the last couple of months out there, but it is not stuff that we can physically see," Millikin baseball coach Brandon Townsend said. "But when you physically get the lights up, that's a huge thing that starts to make it feel like a baseball field.
"It is getting to be real. There is definitely an excitement and it's like Christmas morning every day going out to the baseball field and seeing what progress they made. It's a fun process."
The ribbon-cutting will be from 3 to 5 p.m. and will include a facility tour and a Millikin baseball scrimmage.
"We're going to have all of our donors there, we're going to have alums there, we are going to have our players there and we will have everybody from campus that wants to be out there," Townsend said.
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With the large number of Big Blue alumni returning for the event, Townsend has also scheduled an alumni game for Saturday.
"We are hoping for a record number of alumni to come back and I've heard from alums as far back as the 1960s," he said. "I think that based on our season with the feeling and the timing of what is happening right now is just I think it's a really good time to be part of the Big Blue. We're really excited about the direction we have as we continue to go because we still haven't reached our goals."
As work continues — the press box is being framed and concrete for the bleachers has been poured — plans for the stadium's future are already in place.
Millikin will host a top prospect camp open to any high school-aged area players on Sunday, Oct. 13. The cost will be $50 and participants will receive a T-shirt.
"The prospect camp is a good opportunity to get kids that we are currently recruiting back to campus and it is a good opportunity for us to look at some local kids that maybe aren't on our radar at this point," Townsend said.
Last season, the Big Blue qualified for the CCIW postseason tournament for the first time since 1990 and Townsend was named the conference's Co-Head Coach of the Year.