Baseball Stadium Renovated Thanks to Alumni Donations

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  • The Crane Stadium renovation was completed in November. James Crane donated $1.1 million to the project. “We’re really happy with it,” vice president of intercollegiate athletics Jerry Hughes said. “We think it’s a great addition to the program and the players are really enjoying it.”

    Photo by Meah Copeland
  • The Crane renovation added 44 new cubby spaces, showers, bathrooms, ping-pong table and seating inside the locker room. The project added more seats to the first base side of the stadium.

  • Inside the locker room is the showing of past jerseys along with the trophy that was earned.

 The Crane Stadium finished the renovation of its locker rooms and stadium seating in November as the season has started. Over the years, the program grew with athletes interested in the University of Central Missouri. James R. Crane, owner of Houston Astros,  donated $1.5 million to the project in early 2020, and there were several other donors who donated money to the project for a total of $2.2 million. 

  The renovation added a new design to the locker room, including showers, bathroom, seating inside the locker room, more seating by the first base side of the stadium and 44 new cubbies. With the new renovation to the locker room, this will help the program grow as they have two national championships, 19 regional championships and 24 MIAA tournament winners.

  Vice president of intercollegiate athletics Jerry Hughes said the renovation was needed since there were 60 players in the program but only 32 cubby spaces. The program was in need of a bigger facility to fit all the players. The starters would get the cubby space while non-starters wouldn’t.

  “He’s [Crane] always giving back,” Hughes said. “He remembers his time here. He loves University of Central Missouri and our baseball program, so he continuously gives to our baseball program to improve our facilities.”

  Hughes said he believes the new renovation will help with recruiting in the future because no other division two school has locker rooms built this way.

  Head coach Kyle Crookes said he is still getting used to the new facility since the project was finished in November. He echoes Hughes, saying the renovation will help with recruiting in the future, and he is extremely happy with the renovation. 

  “It has created more space for the players to be in and that’s a big deal,” Crookes said, “just gives something comfortable place to be to spend time here. 

  Crookes said he is happy that the players are not in a tight space and they are wanting to come to the field for a longer time. 

  Red-shirt junior infielder Seth Kenagy was here before the renovation happened. Kenagy said the difference between the old and new locker rooms is the space that each player has, and the facility in general is outstanding. 

  When the players heard Crane donated most of the money to the project, Kenagy was happy to hear that Crane keeps tabs on the program and wanted to help out with the space. 

  “It’s really exciting for all the guys to come to the field everyday,” Kenagy said. “I think it brings our team closer together because guys want to go into the locker room, hang out together, play ping-pong, watch other sports games, listen to music and bring the team together.”