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BRCC giving up baseball field

Four years after Blue Ridge Community College pulled the plug on its controversial baseball program, BRCC officials are giving up management of the most visible vestige of the short-lived Blue Ridge Bears.

The Henderson County Board of Commissioners on Monday is expected to sign off on an agreement that will transfer upkeep and management of the Albert M. Moreno Sr. Stadium from BRCC to the Henderson County Parks and Recreation Department.
The BRCC Board of Trustees invoked a section of state law that allows a governing board to declare that part of its property "is unnecessary or undesirable for the purposes of the institution."
The baseball field is not needed, the trustees said. And "in the absence of regular maintenance and scheduling services, the baseball facility will inevitably decay and could be severely mismanaged" in a way that could impair its usefulness in the future, according to a memorandum understanding that sets out details of a 10-year agreement.
The baseball field, stands and dugout could be used by the county Recreation Department, the memo said. The Recreation Department will handle scheduling of events there as it does any other park facilities, allowing BRCC to schedule events there as needed. The agreement expires on Dec. 31, 2024, but could be terminated by either BRCC or the county with 30 days notice any time before then.
Former BRCC president David Sink, a lifelong avid baseball fan, launched the Blue Ridge Bears baseball team in 2003 with the support of the college's Board of Trustees. Over the next three years, the Bears would bring more bad news than the college leaders had expected.

The state Board of Community Colleges, after conducting an investigation into how BRCC paid for the baseball team, issued report in 2006 that said the BRCC had spent more than $834,000 on the team, including $61,000 in county money. Community colleges under state law are generally barred from using public money to field sports teams.
BRCC president Molly Parkhill canceled the baseball season in January 2010 and dissolved the baseball program. The college also killed a junior collegiate women's volleyball program it had started after the launch of the baseball team. Moreno Stadium was named for a longtime BRCC Foundation supporter and baseball fan who left money to the school.