Now known as English Field at Union Park, the stadium will be upgraded substantially, with help from $3.5 million committed by the Richmond-based bank.
“We’re deeply grateful for Union’s generosity and support of our baseball program – a program that competes in one of the nation’s premier conferences and develops student athletes who also excel in academics, and leadership,” Virginia Tech President Tim Sands said. “We’re proud to have Union’s name on our stadium. Union and Virginia Tech are committed to serving our communities, and to shared values, such as knowledge, integrity, trust, and teamwork. This support assists an outstanding sports team as it competes and connects with our community, alumni, and friends in the spirit of our motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).”
“Baseball has brought communities together for more than 100 years,” said G. William Beale, president and chief executive officer of Union Bankshares Corporation – the holding company for Union Bank & Trust. “With similar missions of serving our communities, Union is proud to support the efforts of Virginia Tech in building a first-class baseball stadium that will enhance both the fan and team experience. The improvements to English Field at Union Park provide the opportunity for the facility to become not just a baseball stadium, but a place where the community comes together to enjoy baseball or other activities throughout the year. Having Union’s name associated with the revitalized park is a distinct honor for the largest community bank headquartered in Virginia.”
On March 21, Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors approved extending naming rights to the stadium to Union for 10 years in recognition of the company’s financial support.
The estimated cost of what are expected to be multi-million dollar baseball facility improvements won’t be determined until design-and-build bids are analyzed, but Union’s support will help make possible numerous upgrades. Those improvements will include additional seating, modernized concession areas, and a new patio area, as well as a new entrance that will celebrate the legacy of English Field and Virginia Tech baseball.
Premium seating areas for fans and a new clubhouse for the team are also among the anticipated enhancements. Fans and student-athletes will also enjoy a new scoreboard and video replay board as part of this project.
More restrooms and an expanded family area are also among the anticipated upgrades.
“English Field has served as a great home for Virginia Tech baseball, and thanks to Union, it’s only going to get better,” Virginia Tech Baseball Coach Pat Mason said. “Our student-athletes and our fans will all benefit from the many improvements.
“Our team will be enthused about the addition of a pro-style clubhouse and high-tech scoreboard, while luxury boxes, premium seating areas and a new press box will truly give Union Park a first-class feel,” Mason continued. “We’re eager for another generation of Hokies to enjoy Virginia Tech baseball in a great family setting.”
In addition to providing Virginia Tech baseball one of the top facilities in the Atlantic Coast Conference, English Field at Union Park is expected to serve as a vibrant part of the Blacksburg community throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Youth leagues and regional tournaments are expected to utilize the venue, in addition to various camps and clinics.
Thanks to an abundance of greenspace, concessions, and amenities, a variety of other potential community-oriented events could be hosted at Union Park as well.
“Virginia Tech is thrilled to partner with Union to create a contemporary, yet traditional baseball park in Blacksburg,” said Whit Babcock, the university’s director of athletics. “We share Union’s vision of developing a community focal point where friends and families can gather to cheer on the Hokies and come together on a year-round basis. This modernization and upgrade strengthens a venue and a field that was named in honor of the legacy of the late E.R. “Red” English and his wife, Ruth, who were longtime benefactors of Tech Athletics. The next generation of English Field at Union Park will be one that all Hokies will be proud of for many years to come, and that will well position our baseball program to compete among the ACC and national elite.”
Babcock added: “Virginia Tech remains committed to enhancing the game-day experience for our student-athletes and fans, while providing a place where our neighbors from across Southwest Virginia can strengthen bonds and share memories. We are proud to align the VT brand with another very strong brand in the commonwealth, that of Union Bank & Trust, which shares our commitment and values to give back and bring people together.”