BOONE — When Appalachian State’s softball team played its last home game of the 2019 season on Sunday, April 28, few realized it was likely the last game ever at Sywassink/Lloyd Family Stadium.
That’s the current plan, according to ASU Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Management Nick Katers, who presented the plan for softball, track and field and tennis facilities to be moved to N.C. 105 at a joint meeting of the Boone Town Council and Planning Commission on April 29.
The first phase of that plan, according to Katers, will be the construction of the new ASU softball stadium, slated to start this summer and finish by January 1, 2020, in time for the 2020 season.
“It’ll be a wonderful improvement to the existing site,” Katers said.
The facility will be on the site of the old Watauga High School softball field and include seating for 100-150, Katers said.
The presentation came during a public hearing on the proposed rezoning of 40.32 acres of the 73-acre site from B3 General Business to E1 Educational District. Later in a separate meeting, the Boone Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the rezoning. The Boone Town Council will need to give final approval at a future meeting.
Katers presented a rendering for the site, which would include six outdoor and six indoor tennis courts and a full-scale NCAA track and field facility.
ASU’s plans for the athletics portion of the N.C. 105 site would orient the track and field facility 90 degrees differently from the former WHS facility. Katers said the existing track, which has been left since Watauga High School moved in 2011, is too small for NCAA use.
Katers said the tennis and track and field facilities will be built as part of phase two “when funding allows.” ASU Track and Field is currently without a home facility due to the demolition of Owens Field House and construction of a new mixed-use endzone facility at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
The rest of the buildable site is currently home to approximately 1,100 freshman vehicles, displaced from the State Farm Lot due to the parking need for the Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences that opened in 2018. The future permanent use for the site has not been determined.