Don Sanders Stadium at Sam Houston State University, already one of the top college baseball facilities in the Southwest, will be further enhanced this spring with the addition of an 183,040-square foot AstroTurf playing surface.

The new field, which combines the look, feel and performance of a traditional grass and clay diamond but requires less maintenance, will allow outdoor practice time in virtually any weather condition.

Several SHSU alumni and friends, who wish to remain anonymous, have partnered with the Sam Houston Department of Athletics to make possible the $1.4 million project. Burnside Services Incorporated (BSI) of Navasota, in conjunction with Ryan Sanders Sports Services of Round Rock, is managing the project.

“We greatly appreciate these generous gifts in support of the Bearkat baseball program,” said SHSU President Dana G. Hoyt. “Not only do our student-athletes work hard in their respective sports, but they also spend a tremendous amount of time participating in service activities throughout the community and in our local schools, as well as serving as ambassadors for the university.

“In addition to upgrading our beautiful baseball stadium, this investment lets our student-athletes know that the efforts they make in continuing the tradition of excellence at SHSU are valued,” she said.

The AstroTurf field also will provide opportunities for revenue generation and brand expansion through tournaments and clinics year round

“Sam Houston State University is fortunate to have wonderful alumni and friends who give at such a high level to help this university succeed,” Bobby Williams, director of athletics, said.  “Major projects of this type take a total team effort. We are very appreciative of our partnership with our university president, university advancement, the athletic department, and especially the individuals who have made this possible with their generous gifts.”

The Sanders Stadium field turf project will include green turf on an area of 105,340 square feet; a skin area of 12,750 square feet and a warning track of 19,560 square feet.

Opened in February 2006, Don Sanders Stadium is recognized as one of the best NCAA Division I collegiate baseball facilities in the region and is the envy of the Southland Conference. In addition to the stadium, the $5.5 million facility includes spacious dressing areas, indoor hitting cages, lights and coaching offices.

In 2013, Sam Houston alumni Don Sanders and Bud Haney teamed up to bring a state-of-the-art video scoreboard to the stadium, elevating the fans’ experience.

Since the opening of Don Sanders Stadium, Sam Houston’s baseball teams have made six appearances in the NCAA regionals and won the Southland Conference regular season title three times in the last four years.

SHSU stands as the only athletic program to have earned five Southland Conference Commissioner’s Cups, symbolic of the league’s men’s and women’s all-sports championship. The Bearkats’ football, track and field, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and softball programs have combined to win eight league championships since 2010.

The success of Sam Houston’s athletic programs has brought nationwide attention to SHSU, with more than 50 Bearkat athletic events in the past four years being telecast on the ESPN family of networks.