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Tom Heath Field at Lawson Plaza under construction

Construction is moving quickly on a new on-campus softball stadium that will be completed next year.

Ricky and Kelly Lawson provided the seven-figure anchor gift for the stadium, which will be named “Tom Heath Field at Lawson Plaza.”

When completed, the stadium will include locker rooms, coaches’ offices, training rooms, meeting rooms, a players’ lounge, permanent restrooms, a press box, permanent seating, an indoor training facility and a 34-vehicle parking lot.

Ricky (92) and Kelly became interested in the softball team after their friend Kent Allen (79), OC’s vice president for advancement, suggested they attend a game.

“After Kelly and I got involved with the team, we noticed that Tommy was working hard on the field, dragging the infield, watering by hand and so on,” Lawson said. “We decided we wanted to help the team, and this new field, which we think will be as nice as any in the country, seemed like the natural thing.”

The stadium’s name is a tribute to Heath (71), who has served as OC’s softball head coach since the program began in 1995.

“When Ricky and Kelly told me what they wanted to do for the softball program, I was speechless,” Heath said. “They have generously contributed over the last few years to allow us to enter tournaments and to travel when we otherwise might not have been able to. They have been a blessing to our team.”

In addition to being home to OC’s softball team, the new facility will host tournaments that promote the university.

RGroup Inc., owned by former OC basketball player Dillon Ripley (06), is the primary contractor on the project.