AD Andy Geiger said UWM will pursue other options for new baseball facility

UPDATE: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday that Glendale had no interest in the plan to build a baseball and track & field facility in Glendale, according to city administrator Richard Maslowski.

The parcel at 100 W. River Woods is within walking distance of UW-Milwaukee’s Humboldt-Capitol U-Park lot and is surrounded by two health care facilities and the Milwaukee River.

It is currently owned by Securant Bank & Trust and is priced at $1.7 million, according to the bank’s website. Bank officials declined to say whether any parties had shown interest in purchasing the property.

Maslowski told the Journal Sentinel that the parcel is zoned for office and medical use and the city is not interested in accommodating an athletic facility.

In an interview with The Post on Wednesday, Athletic Director Andy Geiger acknowledged that there may be “hurdles” the university could not get past in regards to the lot.

“I don’t know if there are any options to go forward there,” he said. “But, if not, we’ll have to find someplace else.”

Geiger said it was “urgently important” to try to find another space close to the university and the unidentified “seven-figure donor” was not committed to that particular site.

“We’re open to other opportunities that we have,” Geiger said. “I don’t want us to go a ridiculous distance from the campus.”

The facility will house a 300 meter track, clinic site and a practice space for soccer, track & field and baseball. Geiger even mentioned the new facility would be big enough house a football field.

“In a place where winter is an issue, it would be ideal,” the athletic director said. “I think that’s an ideal facility and the baseball stadium and synthetic field in a building like this would be perfect for this program.”

Geiger first mentioned the new facility at a Student Association meeting on Sunday night, as The Post reported.

The UW-Milwaukee baseball team now plays at Henry Aaron Field, operated by Milwaukee County Parks.  Many argue that it isn’t sufficient enough to play host to the only Division I baseball program in Wisconsin.

“We’re just dedicated to trying to get something done,” Geiger said. “We’ll continue fundraising, searching for a site and eventually we’ll get something. It’s certainly something our student athletes should have.”

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Late Sunday night, UW-Milwaukee Athletic Director Andy Geiger announced in a Student Association meeting that there are plans in motion to build a facility designed specifically for the university’s baseball and track & field programs fairly close to campus, funded by a “seven-figure gift”.

Geiger began his speech by announcing that the university has discovered 12 to 14 acres in which they intend to break ground for a brand new baseball diamond and track & field facility. The land is about ten minutes away from UWM in Glendale.

“We have isolated or discovered some property and have an ability to build facilities on a 12 to 14 acre parcel in Glendale, fairly close to the campus, very close to the remote parking area along the Milwaukee River,” said Geiger.

The UW-Milwaukee baseball team now plays at Henry Aaron Field, through Milwaukee County Parks.  Many have argued that it isn’t sufficient enough to play host to the only Division I baseball program in Wisconsin. Geiger seemed to realize this as well in his statements.

“I find it unusual that a school that has a baseball team, a track & field program and a tennis program and doesn’t have a baseball diamond, a track & field facility or tennis courts,” stated Geiger.

Geiger, an advocate for “shared space” on campus, announced along with the new baseball diamond, that there is also space for a track & field facility and it will be accessible for intramural and recreational play.

“We can put baseball and an indoor 300-meter track facility which would be housed in a field house that would be approximately the size of a football field,” said Geiger. “The facility would be a year-round, indoor play space for all kinds of activities including intramurals. But certainly baseball, track & field and both soccer teams can use it.”

Geiger also announced that the facilities will be primarily be funded by gifts along with the segregated fees raised from the aborted campus arena proposition. Also, the new facilities will host camps to raise money as well. The types of camps have not been specified.

A timetable for the undertaking of these projects has not been confirmed.

Tony Atkins, Steve Garrison and Justin Jabs contributed to this story.

About the author: Tony Atkins

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