HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – New life will soon be coming to the stadium billed as the “Crown Jewel of the Southern League.”
The City of Huntsville announced Thursday that Chapman Sisson Architects has released new designs for Joe Davis Stadium, the longtime home of north Alabama’s first minor league baseball team, the Huntsville Stars.
City officials said outfitting a 1980s stadium with modern technology and amenities has been challenging to planners and designers, but the “new” Joe will be ready for all kinds of sports.
“A state-of-the-art scoreboard, audio-visual system, infrastructure for media broadcasts, new field lighting, updated seating and new concession areas are among the changes,” explained General Services Director Ricky Wilkinson.
With an artificial turf field, city officials plan for the renovated stadium to be ready for football, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, and ultimate frisbee.
Unlike its history as the home for the Stars, the City plans for the new Joe to be a year-round facility with more food and drink options, along with more flexible seating options.
City Administrator John Hamilton suggested the permanent seating capacity, which was in excess of 10,000 during the Stars’ time in Huntsville, will be reduced to fit modern trends.
“An important aspect of our design process has been the advice received from coaches, band directors and TV broadcast teams from Huntsville City Schools, in addition to implementing the standards required for professional soccer as we pursue that opportunity,” he stated. “We need a stadium that is smaller, approximately 6,000 seats, and provides amenities and entertainment value beyond the competition on the field.”
Hamilton said the city expects to award the construction bid late in the summer, with construction starting in the fall.
The first event at the renovated stadium is expected to be high school football sometime in fall 2022, providing an alternate venue for all the area high school teams that currently share Milton Frank Stadium.
The renovations also include plans to update the landscaping, add a new athletic storage building, renovate and add restrooms, and significantly change the façade.
City officials plan for the changes to “make much of [Joe Davis Stadium] unrecognizable to those who drive by each day.