If you’ve driven by J.P. Riddle Stadium recently, you’ve noticed something big in the works, and now we know that it will be a new softball field for Fayetteville Technical Community College.
FTCC took over the stadium in 2019, with their new baseball team using the field that the Fayetteville SwampDogs used to play on. Now, the school has added softball, and needed a new field to accommodate the team.
The team had been playing at Honeycutt Park at Kiwanis Recreation Center.
“Now they’ll have a place to call their own,” FTCC President Dr. Larry Keen said of the Trojan softball team.
With nearly 15 acres of land at J.P. Riddle Stadium, Fayetteville Tech had the luxury of space available for the softball project. The vast parking lot has been more than enough to handle the attendance at baseball games already.
According to FTCC, the Fayetteville softball field will meet NCAA regulation standards. The first phase, which should be completed this summer, will include the field, a scoreboard and lights. A second locker room facility will be built in the future, adjacent to the building currently used by the baseball team.
The project is expected to cost $1.9 million, and helps the school achieve its goal of equitable facilities for its men’s and women’s sports programs.
The school held a ground breaking earlier this week for the facility, though progress on leveling and preparing the land has been well underway. According to the school, about three dozen people wielded shovels in the groundbreaking, including Keen and members and coaches of FTCC’s softball and baseball teams. Other participants included State Reps. John Szoka and Diane Wheatley, Cumberland County Commissioners Glenn Adams and Larry Lancaster and FTCC Trustee Charles Koonce. Joseph P. Riddle III and Carolyn Riddle Armstrong were also key participants. The stadium was originally developed in the 1980s by their father, J.P. Riddle, and is named for him.
“The family is really happy,” Riddle said. “We really appreciate what Fayetteville Tech has done. Y’all have great facilities here. This softball field will be phenomenal.”
The field will be read for play later this year.