New Baseball Park will Hit Home Run for NGU Student Life
Located at the former Ashmore Field is the beginning of a multi-phase construction project that will overhaul North Greenville University’s baseball program and become the catalyst for a much enhanced student experience on campus.
“We’re bringing a similar concept to what the City of Greenville used for the Greenville Drive in downtown Greenville’s West End,” says Associate Athletic Director and Director of Athletic Giving Micah Sepko. “We hope this park will become a hub for student activities.”
The first phase of the newly named Ashmore Park, the cornerstone of the project, is already complete. Phase one included a complete reworking of the current playing surface, costing $1.2 million, which was funded by private donations. These refurbishments included the installation of artificial turf with a standard dirt mound, new outfield fencing, backstop fencing, scoreboard, bullpen, and batting cages.
NGU Athletics made an announcement regarding the remaining phases of the project at the field dedication and double-header against Limestone College on April 14, 2018.
These additional projects will include a $2.1 million, 700-seat stadium complete with a hospitality suite, press box, broadcast booth, catering room, restrooms, concessions, dugouts, ticketing booth, and playground area.
A $4.6 million premium residential space will overlook the new baseball field. The two-story structure will include four units, with a common area in the center. Each two-story unit will include a suite with 10 bedrooms, five baths, a kitchen, and a living and dining area on each level. The common area will include recreational and living spaces.
A $4.7 million wellness and outdoor recreational area will include a unique multi-level structure that features glass on all sides, making it easy to view the picturesque scenery of the baseball field and mountain ranges nearby. It will also include restrooms, locker rooms, auxiliary machines, and free weights on the first level; a snack and juice bar, offices, lounge areas, cardio machines, restrooms, and office space on the second level; and an entertainment area with firepits and spectator view from centerfield on the third level. This facility will also include a $2.2 million basketball gym for student use.
The final phase will be a $2.2 million renovation to the current fieldhouse to include a players’ lounge, newly renovated locker room facilities, coaches’ offices, laundry, and storage.
“This is huge news for the North Greenville baseball program,” says Head Baseball Coach Landon Powell. “Our facility will be second to none at the DII level, and I believe we will be the first college or university to have an all-turf baseball field in the state of South Carolina.”
Powell says that the current players and coaches have been working tirelessly to build a special program at NGU. Since his arrival in 2014, the Crusaders have compiled a record of 145-62, including a 43-6 mark in Tigerville this season. They have competed in the Conference Carolinas play-offs for three years. The team won in 2015 — making the program’s first trip to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II Championship — and again in 2018, earning the first number one ranking in Division II in school history.
“I am thankful to Bea Dillard for her generous contribution to jump-start this project, as well as countless others who have been vital to getting us to this point,” says Powell. “We are so grateful and look forward to continuing to glorify God and grow His kingdom through this game.”
Along with an anonymous donor, Bea has made the lead gift to begin the Ashmore Park project in honor of her husband, Ray. He loved baseball and even played for the City of Spartanburg for many years. Ray passed away in 2016, and the new turf playing field is named Ray and Bea Dillard Field in his memory.
“North Greenville University has the reputation of providing students with a quality Christian education, and I want to ensure the next generation of athletes [has] the same opportunity,” says Dillard.
The remaining phases of Ashmore Park are nonconsecutive and will be completed as donors show interest, says Sepko.