MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Nearly two months have passed since the state legislature voted for the Tax Increment Financing bill that will help finance West Virginia University's new baseball stadium.
The clouds from all the brainstorming since then will open today when the minds charged with designing the ballpark meet for the first time.
The TIF, a funding plan based on tax increases at University Town Center, will cover up to $16 million. WVU said in March the cost could climb to $18 million - and never mentioned a ceiling.
"I've got some ideas, but I need to see how well they'll be received before I tell anyone what we'll have in there," Mountaineers Coach Randy Mazey said. "I don't think anybody on the panel has been in more college baseball stadiums or just baseball stadiums than I've been in. I've seen things I like and things I didn't like, so hopefully I can give them my input and maybe get some of the features I do like, some of them big and some of them not too big."
Mazey, who finished 33-26 in his first season, said the panel will include project managers at WVU and representatives from the architecture team and the design team.
Mazey said the meeting will be the first time he's met many of them.
He's not going in unprepared, though. Mazey and Athletic Director Oliver Luck traveled last week to a few ballparks they wanted to study and perhaps emulate. Mazey said they made note of some things and fit them into what he already had in mind.
Mazey won't say where they visited - "It's probably not good for recruiting to let someone say, 'Well, West Virginia copied our ballpark,' " he said - or what specifics he has planned. He has a general vision of the stadium and plenty of options for his preferences.
The area atop the hill at the town center is windy, which could help or hurt an offense. College baseball's aluminum bats have been deadened in recent years for player safety.
A deeper park could help Mazey's pitchers. A shallow park would help West Virginia's offense.
"I've always believed a park should be perfectly symmetrical, from the bullpens to the outfield fences to the dugouts," Mazey said. "One side should be a mirror image of the other. Some stadiums are a little different and do things to give them a little bit of character, but I don't think we'll do anything too crazy.
"I don't want a place where people come in and think they can hit a lot of cheap home runs. I don't want a place where people come in and hit it as hard as they can and it ends up 10 feet in front of the warning track. I want to stay basic."
Mazey knows that will work for the distance to the outfield walls and the way team's digs are the same as the opponent's, but he admits he wants some unique features.
"What I want to do is, when people come to the stadium, I want them to have a good experience," he said. "When they come in, I want a wow factor. Hopefully, we can incorporate some of the local flavor. I don't know if I'd go as far as a coal wall in the outfield, but we'll have something so when people come in, they know where they are."