ITHACA, N.Y.—Those looking to catch a baseball game at Cornell may soon be visiting new digs farther from campus, if the university has its way.

Plans filed by the university call for a new facility to be built on Cornell-owned agricultural fields near the corner of Ellis Hollow Road and Game Farm Road, east of East Hill Plaza in the town of Ithaca. The proposal calls for the construction of a new baseball stadium with a synthetic turf field, dugouts, scorecard, and bleachers with seating for up to 500 visitors.

The project also includes a 15,160 square-foot support building. The support building will contain team rooms, locker rooms, bathrooms and showers, a coach’s office, an umpire’s room, batting cages, storage space and a press box. A small 590 square-foot building will be built for spectator bathrooms. Landscaping includes lighting, parking for 80 vehicles, an entry driveway and stormwater facilities. Frankly, watching Big Red baseball is not a very popular activity, and the typical number of spectators is around 100, and with many of those being students or their families, the parking need is not as significant as one might first suspect.

The existing Hoy Field on Cornell’s Campus would be taken down and turned into low-maintenance grass fields and landscaping until plans are drawn up and approved for new academic buildings on the site. The redevelopment of the baseball field has been in Cornell’s long-term plans since at least the 2008 Master Plan.

Hoy Field, named for Cornell alumnus and former registrar David F. Hoy (an informal “baseball advisor” to the university, and the namesake of the “Give My Regards to Davy” fight song), was established at its current location in 1922, and most recently renovated in 2007. The name would carry over to the new facility.

In terms of project review, the project is located in an area zoned for low-density residential, which allows for athletic facilities with a special use permit to be issued by the Town of Ithaca’s Planning Board, alongside the usual Site Plan Review process. A sign variance for the scorecard billboard may also be required from the Zoning Board of Appeals, though that has yet to be fully determined. The project will make its first trip to the Planning Board to present its sketch (concept) plan next Tuesday, and review will take a few months at minimum. The plan is to have the new field ready for use by Spring 2023.

Stantec Consulting Services is assisting Cornell with the civil engineering work on the project, and the design work is by Philadelphia-based athletic facilities specialist firm EwingCole.

Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at bcrandall@ithacavoice.com.