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Softball shade structure ready for FSU’s 2020 opener

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Shade from the sun. And oversized fans to keep spectators cool.

The Florida State softball program was looking for ways to improve the fan experience and that has taken shape with a permanent shade structure over the reserved seats at JoAnne Graf Field.

Coach Lonni Alameda, FSU athletics and Seminole Boosters, Inc., worked together to raise more than $1.8 million in donations in the last 15 months – from more than 25 donors – to complete the project. The shade structure will cover the chairback seats at JoAnne Graf Field to shield fans from sun and rain, while large fans will be installed underneath to allow for airflow during games played in the Tallahassee heat. The field netting will also reach to the top of the shade structure so that foul balls will no longer be able to fall in the seating area. 

The project is nearing completion and will be finished in time for the softball team’s opening weekend on Feb. 7-9.

NFCA Hall of Fame Coach JoAnne Graf will throw out the first pitch prior to FSU’s season opener against UNC on Friday, Feb. 7 at 3:30 p.m.

“I can’t think of a better way to honor Coach Graf for all that she has done for the sport of softball in general, Florida State softball, and coaches like me over the years than to continue to give and build up the home that we are so proud to live in,” Alameda said. “We are so thankful for the support of all of our fans that have joined our softball family over the years, and appreciate each and every one that have helped with this project.

“Knowing that this has been completely donor-funded shows how much people have invested and it drives all of us, from coaches to players and support staff, to give everything we can to be the best we can be. Not only will this shade structure obviously help the fans in the stands, by covering them from the heat and sun and rain, but we are sure that it will aid us on the field as all of the crowd noise, Warchants and K-Time shouts will be focused on the field and create an outstanding home-field advantage for us. Can’t wait for the season to start for everyone to come see it for themselves.”

Fans can continue to support the ongoing improvements and enhancements to the Seminole Softball Complex. If anyone is interested in joining the project, please reach out to Hugh Tomlinson, Director of Development and Planned Giving with Seminole Boosters, at htomlinson@fsu.edu or (850) 500-4844.

“It is so exciting to see these facilities reflect more and more the quality of the program that Coach Alameda has and continues to build at Florida State,” said Tomlinson. “Not only do we enjoy a championship softball program, but a fan base that continues to be champions for our players and our softball program.”

Season tickets are on sale for the upcoming season at $200 for reserved seats and $125 for general admission. Single game tickets will go on sale in February. Go to www.seminoles.com/tickets, or call (888-378-6653) for more information on tickets.

FSU sports information contributed to this report

A view of the construction on the shade structure on Tuesday. (photo by Bob Ferrante)

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