PULLMAN – Although he was wearing a hard hat instead of a baseball cap and a work vest instead of his uniform, Washington State baseball coach Brian Green was just happy to be sharing some good news.
WSU’s first-year leader gave a virtual tour of the inside of the Cougs’ quickly rising baseball facility last week, pointing out areas like the classroom, locker rooms and tunnel out to Bailey-Brayton Field.
Of course, Green would rather be on the diamond, preparing for a home series against Arizona State. But he and the team are excited to see the Cougar Baseball Facility Project: BTO (Back to Omaha) taking shape.
“Going through the planning (early on), I was able to get educated on what the basic frame was going to be and how the layout was going to look, and it’s all there right now,” Green said by phone this week.
The $10 million project being built along the third-base line at Bailey-Brayton Field will include locker rooms, meeting space, a training area and Hall of Fame area.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on April 24 allowed some construction projects to resume in the state, as long as workers follow certain safety guidelines. WSU was not affected by Inslee’s March order to halt commercial and residential construction, and the baseball facility is on schedule to be completed in October, said Phil Weiler, WSU vice president for marketing and communications.
Green sees the construction project as a continuation of WSU’s momentum it built en route to a 9-7 record before the season was halted in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
His virtual tours are a way to stay connected with the fans and keep them up to date on the progress.
“For us, we’re trying to do as good of a job as we can right now to stay relevant and really just continue the momentum that we were building in the season,” Green said. “We were 7-2 in our last nine games. It was getting fun.
“The coaches and players were looking at each other and going, ‘This is fun.’ We were competing at a really high clip, and our culture felt good.”
The Cougars finished their much-abbreviated season with a winning record for the first time since 2015.
Now, they get to watch their future facility go up in time for when they’re all back together again.
Green said the building looks bigger from the inside than he envisioned.
“The classroom is there, it’s massive, bigger than I that it was going to be,” Green said. “… And the players’ lounge is a huge space; just the whole thing is window and you’re looking out at the field. The locker room is bigger than I thought, the weight room is bigger than I thought. It’s huge.”
WSU presented plans for the facility in November 2018. The design phase continued through September and construction started in August.
“It really is taking shape,” Green said. “We get to continue that momentum we were building, but we’re just doing it through the facility right now.”
Daily News reporter Anthony Kuipers contributed to this story.
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