DURHAM -- In late spring, Duke plans to break ground on a stadium for its newest varsity team -- softball. The field will be located on East Campus next to Duke’s existing field hockey stadium.
Head Softball Coach Marissa Young believes the program and new stadium will create more opportunities for women.
“It really speaks volumes about Duke’s commitment to female athletes and giving them opportunities,” Young said. “Girls around the country, it’s always been their dream to go to Duke, but it never matched up with their opportunity to play softball. And now to have that dream come true for them is going to be just incredible.”
Duke has taken a number of steps to mitigate its footprint, so as to disturb neighbors as little as possible during construction and once the field opens, Duke’s Director of Community Engagement Sam Miglarese said.
“Respecting the concerns and anxieties of the citizens about lighting and parking and traffic control and all the rest,” Miglarese said.
To reduce its visual presence, the field will be built into the hillside and set 250-feet away from the street, the scoreboard will face away from the street and the field lights will be hooded.
“And I want to make sure that everyone knows that the trail and the running track will not be disturbed either during construction or after construction when the softball field is in operation,” Miglarese said.
Once complete, the stadium will feature indoor batting cages, a locker room and seats for 500 fans.
Young looks forward to the day when the softball field opens.
“Fans and folks in the neighborhood can come out and sit out in the field and enjoy watching some softball games,” Young said.
Construction on the field is expected to last between 12 and 14 months. The softball team will begin playing in spring 2018.