MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia officials, citing winter weather that slowed construction, will delay the opening of the new Monongalia County Ballpark by almost a month.
The ballpark was set to debut on March 17 vs. Waynesburg, but the athletics department and construction overseers are now aiming for April 10, the start of a three-game series vs. Butler.
Snowfall and single-digit temperatures throughout February delayed the installation of the playing surface and work on the stadium concourse, WVU officials said.
“The one thing we don’t want to do is open this beautiful park when it is not ready,” said WVU associate athletics director for external affairs Matt Wells. “All of these (construction) groups have worked endless hours to complete the project and reach our goal of a March 17 opening, but the weather kept throwing roadblocks in recent weeks. In the end, Mother Nature won.”
The school did not announce whether the Waynesburg matchup and a three-game series against Charleston Southern March 27-29 will be rescheduled or canceled. Fans who purchased season tickets or single-game tickets will be notified of their exchange options once a scheduling decision is made, WVU announced.
“When I visited the ballpark site in January, I was impressed with the facility and knew that WVU baseball was set to have a great home. I also was very pleased with the construction team and their planned work schedule,” said WVU athletics director Shane Lyons. “Then when I started on the job on Feb. 2, I saw the continued setbacks that the bad weather and single-digit temperatures were bringing, and it became an uphill battle.
“The bottom line is that this facility will be beautiful and great for North Central West Virginia, but we don’t want to ruin the opening with a ballpark that is not ready to meet the needs of our fans. We are hopeful for the end of winter soon and better temperatures ahead so that the April 10 opening will be a special night.”
The rookie-league West Virginia Black Bears are scheduled to play at the ballpark this summer.