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Game on! Construction begins on new diamond for Gadsden State Cardinals

GADSDEN – The threat of severe weather Tuesday moved groundbreaking up a couple hours, but dirt was moved nonetheless as Gadsden State Community College stepped up to the plate on a new baseball-softball complex 

The $10 million Gadsden Sports Park will be funded with a bond approved in November by the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees.

“We believe this complex is a tremendous recruitment tool for us,” said Dr. Kathy Murphy, president of Gadsden State. “We recruit the athletes, who, in turn, encourage friends and family to attend Gadsden State. Expanding sports is beneficial for the College as it promotes school spirit and unity.”

Complex highlights include the following:

  • Entry concourse between fields
  • Full synthetic turf and bullpens, state-of-the-art LED lighting systems, new scoreboards and protective netting systems at both fields
  • Locker rooms and restrooms in the home dugout for the players and coaches
  • Concessions building with serving windows on both sides to accommodate both fields
  • Multi-stall restrooms for spectators
  • Elevated bleachers that seat 150
  • Press boxes
  • Chairback seating sections behind home plate for each field
  • A covered hitting facility with three synthetic turf hitting and pitching lanes

The City of Gadsden has committed to picking up a portion of the tab for parking lots and a pedestrian bridge that spans 135 feet over a culvert to connect a remote parking lot.

“I love the cooperation we are seeing between the City of Gadsden and Gadsden State,” said Tim McCartney, a Gadsden native and member of the ACCS Board of Trustees. “I am proud that I voted in favor of the bond issue. We want to do everything we can to make sure this community and this College continue to grow and prosper.”

Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford said he values the relationship with Gadsden State and the commitment to athletics and academic excellence.

“This facility is about the community,” he said. “This is not just about Gadsden. This is about all five counties that Gadsden State serves. This is phenomenal for all of us.”

The baseball and softball teams at Gadsden State disbanded in 2011 and 2016, respectively. It was announced in April 2022, that Gadsden State will field the teams again.

Blake Lewis was hired as the athletic director and head baseball coach June 1, 2022, and Ryan Clark was named the head softball coach Aug. 1, 2023.

“Beyond the athletic arena, this complex will also serve as a gathering place for our community – a place where families can come together to cheer on their loved ones, where friendships are forged and where memories are made,” Lewis said. “It will be a beacon of pride for Gadsden State and a testament to our dedication to fostering a vibrant and inclusive campus culture.”

Clark agreed that athletics is a valuable aspect of the collegiate experience.

“The complex will give our athletes and our students the best experience possible, and we will forever be grateful,” he said. “Seeing this come to fruition proves that we are all working together in the same direction. I’m so proud to be the softball coach at Gadsden State.”

Lathan Architects is the architect company for the project. Kyser Construction is the contractor. The project is expected to be completed in early-2025.

For more information about Gadsden State athletics, visit GoCardinals.GadsdenState.edu. 

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