Weekday nights are going to start getting a lot brighter as the Long Beach State softball field is getting new lights for the upcoming season.
The field, known as the LBSU Softball Complex, has been the home of the Long Beach State softball team since 1993. The team has hosted nearly all its home games in the daytime because there are currently no fixed lights at the facility.
In September, construction began as fences rose around the field. The plan was to install six new lights and a few emergency lights and gates.
The total project cost is $1,765,960 and was funded by money set aside for construction projects.
The construction is set to be finished around December, right before the 2023 softball season begins. While construction is underway, no one, except for installation workers, is allowed inside the field.
Although the season is a few months away, the team is busy practicing and preparing for the upcoming season. Since they have not been able to use their home field, they have been forced to use the nearby recreational field.
Funded by the school, the new lights have been a long-awaited addition to the field. It not only allows the addition of games scheduled in the evening, but also passes certain regulations.
“One of the things the lights allow us to do besides night games is to host NCAA tournaments,” said Mike Habura, Associate Athletic Director of Facilities and Event Operations. “It’s a requirement to have lights at the field in order to host.”
Long Beach State has historically been able to host NCAA tournament games. In order to pass the regulation on lights, temporary lights were brought onto the field. However, the temporary lights have often been expensive and cumbersome to bring in.
In 2021, Long Beach State athletics received an estimate of $32,000 per week for temporary lights, but the school was not chosen to host the NCAA tournament. All six of the lights at the field are already put up, as of early November.
“They are currently just doing a lot of testing on the lights,” Habura said. “They have been using lasers in order to map out where every light shines on the field.”
The 2023 softball schedule has not been released, but with the installation of the lights, there should be more flexibility.
“There are going to be a lot more night games on the weekdays,” Habura said. “The weekend games should still be in the early afternoon with some being at night.”
With the busy schedule of students on campus, the addition of night games should make attending a weekday game more accessible.
In addition to the new lighting and electric installations at the LBSU Softball Complex, Blair Field will also receive an upgrade. The home of the Dirtbags is receiving a fully digital video board.
The new video board will replace the old hybrid board, which featured a small video and analog display.
Privately funded by Bryson Financial, the board is planned to be fully set up before the 2023 Dirtbags season.
“The new board is going to cover a lot more space, which allows us to be more flexible when it comes to what we put on the board,” Habura said. “Compared to the old board, we’re able to fully customize the scoreboard and do things like play ads on the screen.”
The addition of the new video board brings Blair Field to the standard of many professional stadiums, where a large video board displays everything about the game. Typically video boards play videos from the team, advertisements, game replays and fun game moments like live video of fans.
Fans and students can check out the new board when the Dirtbags play their first game on Feb. 17.