Oct. 18, 2011
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA baseball program has begun construction to install 580 additional chairback seats at Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Funded by the Gifford Foundation, the seat renovation project is expected to be completed in December 2011 and will allow the facility to seat 1,820 fans on a regular basis.
The addition of 580 seats at Jackie Robinson Stadium will push the total number of chairback seats with cupholders to 1,525.
The renovation calls for 290 chairback seats to be installed above each of the two dugouts. Since the stadium's founding in 1981, those two areas have featured grass slopes. Cement for the concrete foundation has already been poured. Chairback seats will be installed in January.
The Gifford Foundation, established by the late Jack Gifford and his wife Rhodine, helped UCLA's baseball program build a state-of-the-art hitting facility in December 2009. The team's 10,500-square foot practice complex was constructed in less than four weeks and provides UCLA with one of the nation's finest hitting facilities. Jack Gifford played baseball for UCLA in the early 1960s and, as an alumnus, became one of the program's most loyal supporters.
"Our players and coaches are extremely grateful to the Gifford Foundation for providing us with the resources to add more seats," head coach John Savage said. "This has been a top priority for our program, especially after having hosted NCAA Regionals the last two years. Our fans have done a great job supporting our team, and it's in our best interest to make sure they have a great seat to watch our games."
The seat expansion project is the latest in a recent string of major improvements to Jackie Robinson Stadium since Savage became the program's head coach in July 2004:
Replacing benches in seating well with 945 chairback seats with cupholders (February 2006)
Installing a high-quality backstop net, free of any obstruction (January 2007)
Field renovation, featuring a new field surface and warning track (December 2007)
Construction of the 10,500-square foot, multi-purpose Gifford Hitting Facility (January 2009)
Addition of bleacher seating (capacity of 290) behind the third-base seating well (April 2010)
UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium opens its 32nd season as the Bruins' home baseball facility in 2012. UCLA has hosted an NCAA Regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium the last two seasons, in addition to the NCAA Los Angeles Super Regional in June 2010. The ballpark averaged 1,161 fans in 2010, the program's highest-ever single-season attendance average.
The Bruins' fall practices began on Monday, Oct. 3 and will continue until the annual Blue-Gold World Series (Nov. 14-18). The 2012 season gets underway at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Friday, Feb. 17, with a three-game series against Maryland.