In case you haven’t noticed there is a facilities war going on within the SEC in all of the major sports. Thursday’s unveiling of the new J.B. and Johnelle Hunt Baseball Development Center next to Baum-Walker Stadium revealed to the public the latest upgrade in that arms race.

Razorback baseball players can now enjoy all of the elements found in the newer football facilities around the conference including an expanded weight room, training room, team meeting room, individual wall lockers for retrieving game and practice gear from the team equipment room, a health and nutrition bar, a food lounge, indoor pitching mounds and batting cages wired for computer metrics and, of course, an expanded locker-room with multiple video screens and other recreational items.

Veteran Arkansas head baseball coach Dave Van Horn said the new facility is so compete that the players are spending too much time there, often having to be chased out late at night. After touring their new digs I can see why. Throw in Baum-Walker Stadium and an indoor practice field across the parking lot and their whole world as student athletes is right at their fingertips, minus academic classrooms of course.

Van Horn noticed something else a couple of weeks after moving into the building. The design behind it was a work of genius. “It all flows”, Van Horn noted. “You learn the building. The weight room is right in the middle, built around the training room, the indoor (pitching mounds & batting cages) with the technology. It makes it easier than running all over the place.”

Coaches offices are on the top level with impressive views of the stadium. For the first time ever as a head coach Van Horn has his own private restroom and a shower. “I told my wife, if I’m really busy I might just spend the night there, Van Horn joked.

So what will this development center do for the Razorback baseball?

“We can coach guys up but you got to get players,” Van Horn stressed. “This building is going to help us get more players.”

The first practice of the 2022 season is set for Friday January, 28. Arkansas opens the season with a three game series against Illinois State starting Friday, February 18. The game will mark the beginning of Arkansas’ 100th year as a baseball program.