EUGENE In a groundbreaking ceremony today, the University of Oregon announced that work has begun on the construction of a $15-18 million ballpark for Oregon baseball. Site work and demolition will begin immediately, with major construction on the facility expected to begin in the next two weeks.

UO President Dave Frohnmayer also announced that, when completed, the park will be named in honor of Ore-gon’s athletic director, Pat Kilkenny, for his leadership, vision and overall commitment to the University of Ore-gon.

"This is an exciting time to break ground on this new facility," said Frohnmayer.  "The naming of the permanent baseball structure in honor of Pat Kilkenny will recognize his generous contributions both financially and in leadership of our athletic department. The university, community and state will continue to benefit from efforts by Pat and his wife Stephanie on behalf of athletics and academics as longtime friends of the university.

Kilkenny has provided the leadership gift of $4 million towards the construction of the new ballpark. In total, nearly $11 million has been raised or committed to date from private donors and the university's partnership with IMG for the operation of the program and the construction of the PK Park. With current commitments, the athletic department is more than half way to the stated goal of raising $20 million over seven years for Oregon Baseball.

The facility construction will occur in two phases. The first phase will provide a playing surface and temporary facilities in time for Oregon’s first home game in 28 years when the Ducks take on the defending national cham-pion Fresno State Bulldogs on Feb. 27, 2009. The second phase, PK Park, will include the permanent stadium structure. Design is underway and construction on Phase II will begin immediately following the completion of Oregon’s first season in late May.

“From the very beginning, our clear mission was to provide the best possible experience for our student-athletes, meet a demanding timeline, and build something that will help us achieve our overall goal of department self-sustainability,” said Kilkenny. “When completed, fans will experience the unique culture of Oregon Athletics through the intimate characteristics of the park. When we add the excitement and competitiveness that we are now known for in all of our sports to baseball, we expect the experience of attending an Oregon game to be among the best in the country.”

When completed, PK Park will hold approximately 4,000 spectators for Oregon baseball games. The park will in-clude full locker rooms, clubhouses and team amenities, a state-of-the-art video board and classic inning-by-inning scoreboard, specially designed lighting structures, landscaped areas for hospitality, fan interaction areas and a unique student seating area to enhance the intimacy for Oregon baseball. The surface will be an all-weather base-ball specific FieldTurf product, with clay mounds and bullpens.

FieldTurf is the leading provider of collegiate baseball synthetic turf, and has been installing a similar product at many college ballparks across the country.

Community support for Oregon baseball has been strong, says Joe Giansante, Oregon's senior associate athletic director. The Ducks have already sold nearly 1,500 season tickets for the re-inaugural season, highlighted by the first baseball Civil War game in 28 years on March 27, 2009, and a full Pacific-10 Conference schedule.

The ballpark will be a year-round venue for the Oregon athletics department. It will feature a large external plaza and walkway, along with an in-stadium concourse that will become a festival area for other sports events. In the fall, PK Park will host pre-game festivities before each home football game, with other national games of interest playing on the video board prior to each Ducks’ home football game, live entertainment and full food and beverage service similar and complementary to the current activities that take place inside the Moshofsky Center.

Local landscape architect firm Cameron, McCarthy, Gilbert & Scheibe is the lead landscape architectural firm on the first phase construction. Larry Gilbert, who has overseen the master landscape and open space planning of the Casanova Center and athletics complex, is leading the project for CMGS.

Lease Crutcher Lewis is the construction manager and general contractor for both phases of the project. The company's work includes the recently finished Lillis Business Complex and the new HEDCO Education Com-plex in construction on campus. Matt Pearson is the project manager for Lease Crutcher Lewis, and local con-struction veteran Steve Stearns will be the on-site project foreman.

DLR Group will serve as the architect for Phase II of PK Park, with offices in Portland and Omaha, Neb. DLR recently completed several successful collegiate baseball projects, including the new Medlar Field and Lubrano Park at Penn State University, Alex Box Stadium at Louisiana State University, Haymarket Park at the Univer-sity of Nebraska, and the renovation of Disch Faulk Field at the University of Texas. In addition, DLR specia-lizes in the design of minor league baseball parks throughout the country. James Conley will manage the project for DLR. His previous work includes the new federal courthouse in Eugene. Greg Garlock is the design consultant with DLR. In addition to the ballparks listed above, Garlock also worked on Baum Stadium at the University of Arkansas, one of the premiere facilities Oregon officials visited while touring baseball parks last year. Stan Meredith, who has designed more than 20 baseball parks, including the newly finished New York Yankees’ spring training home will also consult on the project for DLR.

A limited number of season tickets are still available at www.goducks.com, by calling 541-346-4461, or in person at the Casanova Center ticket office.