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Baseball Stadium, Strength Center Ceremonies Set

Rendering of the new Earl Combs Stadium

4/7/2017

Eastern Kentucky University will hold grand opening ceremonies for the new Earle Combs Baseball Stadium on Friday, April 14, and the new strength and conditioning center on Saturday, April 15th. 

The Colonel baseball team has posted a 12-3 record since beginning play at Earle Combs Stadium on March 4.  Grand opening ceremonies will be held at 5:45 p.m. on Friday.  The second game of an Ohio Valley Conference series against Austin Peay will begin at 6 p.m. 

Members of the Combs family will join Eastern Kentucky University President Michael T. Benson, Director of Athletics Stephen Lochmueller, Head Coach Edwin Thompson and representatives from Murphy Group Architects, Codell Construction, EKU Capital Construction and the Kentucky Finance Department on the field for the opening ceremony. 

EKU student-athletes began working out in the new state-of-the-art strength and conditioning center at the end of February.  The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. inside the strength and conditioning center located in the Moberly Building next to Roy Kidd Stadium. 

The ceremony will include President Benson, Lochmueller, Director of Strength and Conditioning Jon-Michael Davis, and representatives from Hammer Strength, Sherman Carter Barnhart Architects, PLLC, Gilpin Construction Company and EKU Capital Construction. 

Earle Combs Stadium includes a new grandstand featuring a brick façade and more than 900 seats, including 429 chair back seats, along with handicap-accessible seating and a new concession area equipped with restrooms.  It also features new team dugouts, a climate controlled press box which will accommodate enhanced radio and video broadcasts, and an entry plaza for pregame gatherings.  A canopy will provide coverage for fans in the stands, and improve the pitcher's view of home plate. 

The new stadium is named in honor of Hall of Famer Earle Combs.  In his first season as a member of the EKU baseball team, Combs hit at least one home run in every game he played and compiled a .596 batting average.  He played for the New York Yankees from 1924-35, compiling a lifetime batting average of .325.  Combs was the leadoff hitter for the great "Murderer's Row" Yankee teams.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, New York, July 26, 1970.  Combs also served as Chairman of EKU's Board of Regents. 

The facility will serve the local and regional communities as well.  A modern facility like this will attract events such as high school tournaments, club tournaments and camps, bringing many prospective students to EKU's campus each year. 

As part of a widespread improvement to athletic facilities across the Eastern Kentucky campus, the design is intended to blend with the original campus architecture. 

Phase II of the project is currently underway and will include a new team locker room, indoor hitting facility and the addition of banners celebrating the accomplishments of former and current Colonel student-athletes.  The indoor hitting facility will provide the team with an area to practice during any weather conditions. 

In September, Eastern Kentucky University athletics announced a partnership with Life Fitness to remodel the department's weight room.  With the support of Life Fitness and a private donation by Ron and Sherrie Lou Noel, the dramatically expanded and renovated first-class strength and conditioning facility serves all 17 varsity sports and more than 300 student-athletes. 

The new facility features Hammer Strength brand equipment from Life Fitness.  The complete production process of Hammer Strength equipment is done at its facility in Falmouth, Kentucky, less than an hour and a half from the Eastern Kentucky University campus.  EKU's new weight room is a showcase facility for Hammer Strength.  The company will bring clients to campus to tour and demonstrate the equipment.

 The facility includes 20 platforms, 20 racks, 720 pounds of weight per platform, black polyurethane bumpers, four bikes, two treadmills, two ellipticals, four jammers, four iso lunge machines, two leg presses and four vertical leg curl machines.  The facility has 90 pairs of dumbbells, more than any other school in the nation.  In addition, a 10-yard wide by 30-yard long artificial turf field is housed inside the new strength and conditioning center.  The weight area stands on Mondo flooring.  The durable, anti-bacterial flooring will maintain a clean look.  For added safety, the platforms will be part of the floor, meaning no stepping onto or off the platforms.  The floor is soft enough to run on, but strong enough to withstand the impact of dropping weight.  For further safety, water, sweat and spills will not seep into the flooring and can be wiped dry quickly. 

Student-athletes will benefit from a nutrition bar that is part of the new athletics strength and conditioning center.  One of the largest in the nation, the nutrition bar includes ice machines, refrigerators and blenders.

Published on April 07, 2017

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