The scoreboard in place at the future home of the Brenau University Golden Tigers softball team on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at the Ernest Ledford Grindle Athletics Park in Gainesville, Ga. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)
The scoreboard in place at the future home of the Brenau University Golden Tigers softball team on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at the Ernest Ledford Grindle Athletics Park in Gainesville, Ga. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

They Swing! They Score! New Brenau Athletics Park Construction Moves Closer to Opening Day

Apr. 6, 2016
Brenau Staff

Contractors using a heavy crane swung the pieces of a 25-foot-wide, 15-foot-tall digital scoreboard into place April 5 as Brenau University moved closer to opening day for the Ernest Ledford Grindle Athletics Park, home of the Golden Tigers softball team.

Located about two miles from the Brenau historic campus, the park lies along Jesse Jewell Parkway (U.S. 129 and Georgia Highway 369) in the unincorporated New Holland community adjacent to the Milliken & Company mill.

Initial development on the 16.8-acre park site includes a softball field, parking, bleachers, field house and other improvements. Additional facilities at the park that will be built as additional financing occurs include a field for soccer, lacrosse (scheduled to begin at Brenau for the 2018 season) and other field sports, a running track and common-use areas, like walking and jogging paths and others available for public use and special programs.

South Carolina-based Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, Inc., donated a 16.8-acre tract of land for the development of a multipurpose athletics park at the site of the historic New Holland textile mill village.

The development of facilities for intercollegiate athletics complex in the New Holland area includes a gift from former Coca-Cola Chair and CEO Doug Ivester and his wife, Kay, both of whom grew up in the New Holland mill community. They contributed funding to complete the first stage of the complex, which has been named “Ernest Ledford Grindle Athletics Park” – in honor of Kay’s late father. The property includes the former site of the school where the Ivesters met in third grade and fittingly was the locale of the field for the textile mill village’s near-legendary baseball team.

Ironically another South Carolina company got in the act on Tuesday, too. Masstar Signs of Greenville installed the scoreboard.

Brenau had hoped that the park would be ready for the Tigers softball team to open the 2016 season there, but heavy rains last year and unexpected draining issues from water sources on the property cause delays. Once the weather cleared a bit, contractors made a valiant effort in the past month to make that happen – completing the precision grading require, installing fences and lights, laying subsoil for the outfield and completing irrigation and drainage systems. However, with the Tigers’ last home game scheduled in about a fortnight, Athletics Director Mike Lochstampfor said, “we’re probably in a ‘wait until next year’ situation” for intercollegiate play.

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