By: Jennifer Pukenas
CHATTANOOGA, TENN. (UTC/TheLoop)- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga continues to move forward with owning and renovating Engel Stadium.
Dr. Richard Brown, Vice Chancellor for Finance, Operations and Information Technology for UTC, attended the Chattanooga City Council meeting April 5th and spoke on Engel Stadium’s future.
Brown said the University has had numerous, bureaucratic issues with Engel that they have dealt with over the past few years, but they are now well on their way. Brown sent the deeds this week to be processed by the State Building Commission in Knoxville. These deeds, which Brown believes will take 60-90 days to be processed, will give the University management control of the facility and they can move forward with reducing liabilities.
The University has already invested two million dollars in the facility, which will go towards saving the old stadium, as well as constructing a soccer field and track and field facility.
“We think that this is really an icon in the city of Chattanooga,” Brown said. “We are hoping to restore it to its old glory.” Dr. Richard Brown on Engel Stadium
The baseball field will be used for inner-city baseball as well as other baseball uses in the community.
Russell Thurmond, a former player on the UTC baseball team is excited about the renovation.
“I liked playing there a lot,” Thurmond said. “It was really interesting playing on an old field that still looks like it did when Babe Ruth played there.”
The Babe visited Engel Stadium in 1931 with the New York Yankees in an exhibition game against the Chattanooga Lookouts. Ruth is well known at Engel Stadium for striking out against a female pitcher, Jackie Mitchell, who played for the Lookouts.
After Brown spoke of the University’s intentions for the facility, the Council took a vote. The vote was unanimous and was approved by the City Council.