Baseball: Construction underway on Rocky Miller Park upgrades


Alex Putterman/Daily Senior Staffer

Construction is underway on renovations to Rocky Miller Park. The upgrades will include artificial turf, a clubhouse, expanded dugouts, improved concession stands and new seating for spectators.

Alex Putterman, Sports Editor

Almost 30 years after Rocky Miller Park’s last major upgrade, construction is underway on major renovations to the Wildcats’ home stadium.

The renovations will include artificial turf to replace the grass field, a new clubhouse behind third base, new seats f0r spectators, expanded dugouts and improved concession stands, Northwestern coach Paul Stevens said.

The University first announced plans for upgrades to Rocky Miller Park in June 2013 after a $5 million lead gift from Richard and Roxy Pepper. Roxy Pepper is the daughter of J. Roscoe (Rocky) Miller, for whom the park is named.

“There’s been a big push around here since probably ’95 to start upgrading facilities on all levels in every sport,” Stevens said. “We’re very fortunate to have it happening now for us.”

Stevens said he hopes the improvements will increase attendance and make life easier for the players, who currently dress in the visitors’ locker room at Ryan Field.

The artificial turf will make a particularly big difference, Stevens said. In the past, players often mentioned the Cats have battled against the elements, losing games and missing practices due to sloppy field conditions.

“The surface gives you a lot of opportunity to play at times that otherwise you can’t,” Stevens said. “Up north, with the frost lines and everything else that you go through, I think it’s a component that absolutely is a necessity.”

Construction began in late September and will be mostly complete by Thanksgiving, if all goes according to plan. The Cats’ first home game of 2015 is scheduled for April 1, and barring major setbacks the field will be entirely playable by then, an athletic department spokesman said.

“The field is the theater for athletes,” Stevens said. “And what a tremendous opportunity for these guys to have that for the beginning of next season.”

Stevens said the park has not undergone a significant change since the scoreboard was added in 1983.

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