FEATURE: Nittany Lion Park: Snowballs Now, Softballs Later
Jan. 27, 2011
By Mark Wishnia, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Twenty-nine degree temperatures and a steady snow was falling in Happy Valley. The date was January 26. Everyone was thinking the same thing: Softball.
Standing inside Penn State softball's new facility, Nittany Lion Park, in what will soon become head coach Robin Petrini's office, there was nothing to see out the window but a bed of white.
The field was blanketed, the seats were blanketed, and the bottoms of everyone's shoes were wet and squeaky. Dan Breon, a member of Penn State Construction Services from the Office of Physical Plant just stared out the window.
"Doesn't look much like softball weather out there right now, does it?" asked Breon. "Hard to believe it's only what, a month and a half, two months away?"
Softball athletic communications contact, Jeremy S. Fallis, quickly jumped in.
"We start February 18," said Fallis.
"My gosh," Breon said. "Where do you play at?"
"Boca Raton, Florida," Fallis answered with a smile.
Breon had a brief pause, and then smiled back.
"That's nice to get down there then," Breon said.
Penn State's Nittany Lion Park will be ready to go when the Nittany Lions suit up for their first home game on March 24 when they take on Buffalo.
"It's amazing to go into the season with a new stadium," said Petrini. "It's a state of the art facility and we're excited to be in it and its what we've been working for and we're excited to be playing in it."
Petrini made important note that this new stadium cannot come with disappointment.
"The facility puts itself as one of the top facilities in the country," she said. "Now we need to put the talent on the field, we need to perform on the field to match that."
The new stadium should bring in some of the best talent however. Petrini says the new stadium has already helped with recruiting.
"The 2012 commitments that we have so far, the stadium had a significant impact on them committing to us already," Petrini said.
The stadium has many amenities that the players and coaches are extremely excited about.
Kendall Peachy is the supervisor for Poole Anderson Construction, the construction company building the stadium. He thinks the facility as a whole will be great for the fans.
"I mean when you come in here, the grass was green there before the snow and stuff, its really going to be a real nice facility," Peachy said. "I think it's going to be one of the nicest for softball."
The most exciting part according to Breon?
"The wins of course," Breon joked. "You'll get the real stadium feel here much like a larger facility. I mean it's a big facility but just playing the atmosphere here will be good."
Coach Petrini had a much simpler response.
"You'll have a seat and there are bathrooms," Petrini said.
For the players and staff, there is not much more they can ask for. The lowest level of the stadium will have the Nittany Lions' locker room, a meeting room, a training room (with a whirlpool), and equipment and electrical room to run stadium lights, an indoor pitching and batting facility, a two-story maintenance facility, umpire locker rooms, and an on-site laundry room.
The concourse level will consist of public restrooms, concession stands, visitor locker rooms, ticket booths, a first-aid booth, a security booth, and a handicapped restroom.
On the third floor, there will be a mechanical room, locker rooms for coaches, offices for the coaches, several cubicles and offices for other staff members, a break room, a storage room, a visitors area, a lounge area, and a meeting room.
The amenities listed above are all in a building along the first base line. Of course along the first base line will also be one of two 75-foot long dugouts.
The press box, which is located behind home plate, has four separate rooms. One is for the home broadcasters, one is for road broadcasters, another is for the scoreboard operators and main media contingent, and the last is a TV broadcast booth.
Fans can begin filing into the new state-of-the-art facility when it opens on March 24 for a doubleheader vs. Buffalo.