1. A view of the renovated ballpark’s exterior.
|Built||Unknown, Rebuilt 2008-2009|
|Opened||Unknown, Reopened February 20th, 2009|
|Torn Down||2008 (Rebuilt 2008)|
|Used by/for||University of Central Arkansas Bears (NCAA D1) Unknown-Present|
|Location||University of Central Arkansas, Bruce St, Conway, AR|
|Surface||Grass (Unknown-2009), Artificial Turf (Infield, 2010-Present)|
2. A view of the ballpark with grandstand and artificial turf.
Bear Stadium, sometimes referred to as UCA Field, has been the home field of the University of Central Arkansas Bears baseball team, a member of the NCAA D1 Southland Conference, since at least the mid 1980s.
The ballpark is located on campus at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, AR, and is among the best collegiate baseball facilities in the state. Before playing at UCA Field, the Bears played at several different locations on the UCA campus.
3. A view of the playing field with artificial turf infield.
When the UCA Bears first became a NCAA Division 1 baseball team in 2007, it quickly became apparent that the existing Bear Stadium would not suffice. At the time, the park featured little more than some metal bleachers and a press box. The team’s locker room was in a house located beyond left-center field known as the “Baseball House”. And so, plans for a new stadium commenced.
The original Bear Stadium was torn down in early 2008, and construction on a new ballpark designed by Wittenberg, Delony & Davidson Architects began. Between then and early 2009, Bear Stadium, save for the field itself, was virtually rebuilt by Ross Sparks Builders Inc. for a cost of around $2 million dollars.
4. The grandstand, complete with chairbacks.
By opening day 2009, Bear Stadium featured a new 1,000-seat grandstand behind home plate with 106 chair-backs and the rest metal bleachers. And not only did the ballpark have new concourse, complete with concessions and restrooms all underneath the grandstand, it had a second concourse atop the grandstand where a fair sized press box is located.
Other interesting aspects of the park include a large American flag beyond center field and a backstop including both brick, chain-link fencing and netting. In addition, the park is very wheelchair friendly, featuring an elevator from the lower concourse up to the upper concourse.
5. The outfield viewing decks.
The new Bear Stadium officially opened on February 20th, 2009 in a game against the University of Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks. The team set what was then a Bear Stadium record with 517 in attendance for the inaugural game. Seven weeks later, that record was broken when 732 people showed up for field’s official dedication on April 3rd, a record that still stands.
In September 2010, the field itself was indeed renovated when the entire infield was replaced with GeoGreen artificial turf. The field is now one of only three in the state with turf, and all three have the turf confined to the infield.
Bear Stadium also received several other improvements. In order for the artificial turf to be installed, the field had to be raised. This meant building new brick retaining wall around the field, as well as converting the dugouts into true dugouts. New patio viewing decks were also installed near both foul poles.
6. Bear Stadium.
Thus, with renovations, UCA can rightfully claim that Bear Stadium is among the best collegiate baseball facilities in the entire state.
For more and larger photos of this ballpark, see the Bear Stadium Gallery.