Last night the Arlington County Board unanimously approved a plan that will provide at least $3 million for major improvements to the ball field, paid in full by George Washington University. GWU’s baseball team has used Barcroft as its home field since 1992, and has long desired a venue more on par with other universities.
Under a new 20-year agreement, GWU will pay all upgrade costs while splitting annual maintenance costs 25/75 with Arlington County. The maintenance split reflects the agreement that GWU will have access to the field for 25 percent of available hours while the county will be able to provide public access to the field for 75 percent of available hours.
County staff estimated Arlington’s yearly share of maintenance and repair costs for the field at between $25,000 to $40,000.
“GWU’s contribution will make Field #6 the best baseball field in Arlington, while the community will have even more use of the field than it has now,” County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman said in a statement. “This is a great example of how local government can leverage public-private partnerships to bring real benefits to the community.”
A major component of the upgrade is a new artificial turf field — a first for an Arlington County baseball diamond. Other planned upgrades include new fencing, dugouts, bullpens, batting cages and stadium seating, as well as a new entry plaza, press box, concession area, and parking lot layout. Possible future changes include new restrooms, locker rooms and a new scoreboard. There are no planned changes to the field’s lighting system.
“This is a great opportunity to provide a modern facility for both GW student-athletes and the youth of northern Virginia, and we thank Arlington County for its support of this transformational project,” said GWU athletic director Patrick Nero.
GWU is hoping to upgrade the field in time for the spring baseball season. Construction is expected to begin next month, with the field reopening in March 2012.