Per a report from the Milwaukee Business Journal, the UW-Milwaukee baseball team and local sports mogul Mike Zimmerman have began plans to build a stadium for the Panthers by 2016.
The 4,000-5,000 seat stadium is tentatively planned to be built in Oak Creek, although no site has been announced. The Panther’s current facility, Henry Aaron Field, will become the team’s new practice facility. “The Hank”, as it is affectionately known by players and fans, will also be getting its infield upgraded to a synthetic turf per the arrangement with Zimmerman’s MKE Sports And Entertainment.
“While Henry Aaron Field has been a long-time home of ours, and we appreciate the opportunity to use the facility, we are now in need of improved space for competition,” said UW-Milwaukee Director of Athletics Amanda Braun in a press release. “It’s difficult for a Midwest NCAA Division 1 program to compete in the recruiting game without a stadium. We are the only Division 1 baseball program in the state and have one of the country’s best coaches in Scott Doffek and his staff. It’s amazing what he has been able to do with so little and I look forward to the day he is able to have all of the recruiting tools other Division 1 programs have. We look forward to working with the City of Oak Creek and MKE Sports & Entertainment to bring this vision for a new stadium to life.”
Zimmerman is also the owner of the Milwaukee Wave and The Rock Sports Complex in Franklin, as well as minor league baseball teams Rockford Aviators, Kokomo Jackrabbits and Jamestown Jammers.
““This is a huge piece of the puzzle,” said Zimmerman. “The fan base for baseball and stadium based entertainment is certainly there.”
Per Senior Associate Athletic Director of Fincance Charlie Gross, the deal will be for the Panthers to lease the stadium similar to their deal with the Wisconsin Center District for basketball. There is no indication that the university will be pitching in to help fund the construction.
The stadium will also house a independent minor league baseball team, as well as outdoor entertainment and community events. It will be designed to also accommodate professional outdoor soccer. The seating will include Club / VIP seating, suites, grass seating, beer gardens, and a kids zone.