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Tuesday, October 15, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Husky Baseball -- Huskies Dream Of A Field -- UW Seeks Permits For Park To Replace Graves Field

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

The University of Washington has applied for a shoreline permit to build a 3,500-seat, $4.75 million baseball stadium just north of Conibear Shellhouse.

The new facility would replace Graves Field.

The UW hopes to break ground next summer and open the facility for the 1998 season.

The university has committed $1.25 million for the project. The University of Washington Baseball Stadium Foundation, headed by Eastside businessman Herb Chaffey, will try to raise the remainder.

Chip Lydum, assistant UW athletic director, said the UW hopes the $1.25 million will be sufficient to get the playing field itself in place.

However, Chaffey said the $1.25 million might just be enough to get utilities to the field and handle site preparation for the installation of the field.

Final figures still are being compiled.

The field would face southeast with a view of Mount Rainier and have an artificial-turf infield and a grass outfield. Plans call for the stadium to have lights for night play.

The stadium site now is used as an intramural field for various sports. The intramural program would get the Graves Field land when the new stadium is built.

The new, partially roofed stadium would be next to the soccer field under construction. The UW hopes to use the soccer field, which will have bleacher seating for 2,500, next fall.

Chaffey said the fund-raising drive should begin within two weeks. He said if a large donor comes forward, the stadium might be named after the donor.

Chaffey, a Husky alumnus and long-time booster, said he got interested in a new facility years ago when the summer-league baseball team he sponsors played at Graves Field.

"I looked at that field, and I said, `Is this a baseball field for a Division I program?' There were two Sanikans out there and rinky-dink grandstands."

Chaffey praised the willingness of Athletic Director Barbara Hedges to improve baseball facilities with a new stadium.

He said talk of a new stadium already has helped Husky baseball recruiting and added that the stadium would be available for youth leagues in the summer.

Graves Field, which is almost a mile from the middle of campus, can seat 1,500 but is filled only for games against Washington State on nice days. Some home runs at Graves Field become traffic hazards.

The new baseball stadium would be a short walk from the new, $2.3 million Husky softball stadium. The softball field itself first was used in 1994, and the stadium opened for late-season games last spring.

The Husky baseball team is the defending Pac-10 Northern Division champion and has won the title three of the past five years.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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