College Baseball Hall of Fame Will Not Be Built in Lubbock
Late Friday afternoon, the College Baseball Foundation and City of Lubbock released statements announcing the College Baseball Hall of Fame won't be built in Lubbock.
"This was a very tough decision, but something the board felt it had to do," said Mike Gustafson, president and CEO of the College Baseball Foundation, in announcing the cancellation of the project.
The College Baseball Foundation had been trying to raise funds for the College Baseball Hall of Fame's construction since 2009. However, in December 2016, the plans for the hall of fame were scaled down by eliminating land for regulation-size baseball field and reducing the footprint for the building itself.
The future of the hall of fame was called into doubt by Lubbock City Councilwoman Karen Gibson earlier this week with an interview with KFYO's Chad Hasty. Gibson told Hasty that if construction on the hall of fame didn't start by the May 1 deadline, she would not vote for any more extensions.
Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope says the land slated to be used for the College Baseball Hall of Fame will be used in other downtown redevelopment projects.
(Statements from the College Baseball Foundation and City of Lubbock shown below)
College Baseball Foundation Statement April 7, 2017
The board of trustees of the College Baseball Foundation informed Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope today the foundation will discontinue its pursuit of the downtown Lubbock site as the home for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame Museum.
"This was a very tough decision, but something the board felt it had to do," said Mike Gustafson, president and CEO of the College Baseball Foundation.
The board voted today and several stakeholders were notified earlier this afternoon.
"Several members of the national board, as well as myself, reside in Lubbock," said Randy Robbins, chair of the College Baseball Foundation Board of Trustees. "It has been a point of pride to work toward the goal of having this in our community. We wish to thank Mayor Pope and the Lubbock City Council for their cooperation and commitment throughout the process."
The decision was based on detailed financial projections that showed achieving sustainability at the current site in Lubbock would be difficult.
"It was always our intention to pursue making the National College Baseball Hall of Fame a showcase facility in Lubbock," Gustafson said. "However, under the current parameters, it has become increasingly clear that doing so in the manner our board, our supporters, our inductees and the council members expect is not going to be possible at the location at this time."
A key component of the initial Hall of Fame museum design was a full-sized baseball field that could be used to host national, regional and local tournaments throughout the year and generate revenue for the Hall of Fame. When the field was removed from the plans for the museum, it became apparent that the site would no longer be feasible.
The foundation’s board of trustees worked diligently during the design phase of the project to hone proposed budgets to create a working annual financial goal. But as those plans changed — including eliminating plans for the field adjacent to the museum building —the ability to generate sufficient income became a serious concern.
"We have taken a hard look at our numbers with regard to operational sustainability," said College Baseball Foundation trustee Rick Greenspan. "Without the adjacent field, we no longer felt the site was suitable for long-term success."
It is important to note this does not mark an end for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame or the College Baseball Foundation, Gustafson said. The foundation headquarters will remain in Lubbock and it will continue to give its annual slate of awards and conduct the voting for the Hall of Fame induction class.
"A committee has been formed, and a national search for the best location is underway," Gustafson said. "It has always been the goal of the College Baseball Foundation to create a first-class facility to showcase the history of college baseball."
About the College Baseball Foundation:
Founded in 2004 in Lubbock, the College Baseball Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission of preserving and interpreting the history of college baseball. In addition to presenting five awards to outstanding performers in college baseball each year, the foundation has conducted the annual National College Baseball Hall of Fame induction since 2006. A capital campaign to construct a facility to house the Hall of Fame in Lubbock was announced in 2009, and in 2013, a lead gift from the Moody Foundation was obtained. Shortly thereafter President George H.W. Bush, a former Yale first baseman and a participant in the first two College World Series, approved his name to be used on the Hall of Fame facility.
STATEMENT FROM LUBBOCK MAYOR DAN POPE
National College Baseball Hall of Fame Museum Project
"I appreciate the College Baseball Foundation for their efforts to bring the National College Baseball Hall of Fame Museum to downtown Lubbock. The Foundation and the City Council both wanted to ensure that the museum would be self-sustainable. It is important to note that the Foundation’s headquarters will remain in Lubbock, and I want to express my best wishes for their efforts going forward.
"Downtown redevelopment remains one of the City Council’s top priorities. With the withdrawal of the museum project, a new opportunity opens for this property in what is becoming a highly developed area in downtown. I am confident that this City owned property will be put to good use," said Mayor Pope.