Tracy Smith’s preference was to not move. Though Sembower Field has more than its share of problems, he doesn’t consider location one of them. It’s a short walk from several dormitories and fraternity and sorority houses, and that’s been known to make for some rowdy crowds, especially on the porch behind the left field fence.
But if Indiana is going to build him a new $19.8 million facility, he’s not going to complain about where it is. The athletic department will take the project, which will be built on the northeast corner of the “athletics district,” close to the 45/46 bypass, to the IU Board of Trustees on Thursday in Indianapolis.
“Clearly I would be happy with either spot,” Smith said Tuesday. “From a baseball-only standpoint, I hate giving up the location we have only because it’s so convenient for our students. But big picture, it makes a lot of sense to have everything in one location, and it would be nice for that to be the showcase piece and the first thing you see on the North side of campus. So it obviously has its advantages. One thing I am concerned about is the whole sound issue with the heavier traffic off the bypass. That’s probably been my biggest concern in having it out there.”
Smith said he feels confident that the noise issue will be taken care of in construction.
“I’m sure they can. We’ve talked about it when we still didn’t know that’s where it was gonna be. I just said, ‘If it goes out here, let’s be aware of the fact that this is an issue. How would we want to handle it.’ Potentially it is a problem, but I think it’s a very solvable problem.”
Smith said he didn’t know much about how the project went from being a $10 to $13 million project in late May to a $19.8 million project in August. He only said that he knew the fund raising has been aggressive and Glass has made sure the project is taken care of.
Smith said he’s happy to see the project progress, but said it will be a while before he lets himself get too excited.
“If I’m not mistaken this will be the third time this is in front of the board,” Smith said. “I will feel great when that shovel is in the ground. Everything Fred has said up to this point, he has not changed. I’m confident going forward and I’m excited about. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ll feel a lot better when I see earth being thrown around. If you recall, there’s a picture of me floating around somewhere out there with a hard hat and a shovel and some dirt. But all indications is this is a go. The president has been very supportive of this. The fund raising people have been very, very actively involved. This is different this time around. It’s a go and I feel great about it.”