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Atlantic Cape Breaks Ground on its New Mays Landing Campus Baseball Field

02/19/2024 | Media Contact: David Zuba, Public Relations Manager and Copywriter | (609) 343-4933
Groundbreaking ceremony for Atlantic Cape's new baseball field

MAYS LANDING — If you build it, they will come!

Rendering of Atlantic Cape's new baseball fieldAtlantic Cape Community College officially broke ground on its new $1.48 million baseball field of dreams on its Mays Landing campus on February 15 that will permanently bring the Buccaneers’ baseball program home in time for the 2025 season after spending the past decade playing its home games at Surf Stadium in Atlantic City.

To drum up support for this ambitious project, the Atlantic Cape Foundation created the “Bring it Home” fundraising campaign in 2020 and thanks to the generosity of its donors raised $186,000. After several years of planning, fundraising, architectural design, environmental approvals, community and alumni outreach, construction began in early February as excavators descended upon the parcel of land situated behind the Rutgers Lifelong Learning Center.

With dozens in attendance, from county commissioners, members of the college’s Board of Trustees, staff, faculty and alumni to players and coaches from the current baseball team, many were recognized for ensuring that this momentous project came to fruition.

“We received tremendous support from many donors and sponsors, including Stephen Nehmad, Dixon Engineering, SOSH Architects, Spiezle Architects and Laura Bishop Communications, that helped to get our campaign going,” said Jean McAlister, chief of staff, Atlantic Cape, and executive director, Foundation. “Without these folks behind the scenes we would not be here today.”

Atlantic Cape, which is currently the only community college in the State of New Jersey to not have a baseball field on its campus, leaving the college at a distinct disadvantage as local student athletes decided to commit to other colleges and universities to continue their studies and baseball careers, is confident that constructing a state-of-the-art National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) regulation baseball field will entice student athletes from across Atlantic and Cape May counties to consider Atlantic Cape first when deciding upon which undergraduate institution of higher education they want to commit to.

Dr. Gaba speaking at baseball field groundbreaking ceremony“This $1.48 million project, which was funded through the State of New Jersey and Atlantic County Chapter 12 funds, has been made possible by the support of our commissioners and Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson. Thank you so much for your on-going support of the college,” Atlantic Cape President Dr. Barbara Gaba said. “With this groundbreaking, Atlantic Cape can begin to demonstrate our commitment to our athletics by providing the necessary facilities for student athletes to excel. So, with this new field we celebrate our student athletes and our Buccaneer baseball team. And we are grateful to all of those who have helped us make this vision a reality,” Gaba said.

Atlantic County District Two Commissioner and Atlantic Cape alum Maureen Kern, whose late father Lawrence “Bud” Kern was instrumental in the success of the City of Somers Point’s Little League Baseball (as its president) and recreation programs, congratulated Dr. Gaba and Atlantic Cape on this occasion.

“On behalf of Atlantic County and the Board of Commissioners, I want to congratulate President Gaba and her team for turning the dreams of many into reality by providing them with the opportunity to play baseball at the college level in our great county,” Kern said. “As an alum of this college, it is especially heartwarming that the youth in our area will have the opportunity to pursue their love of baseball on this soon-to-be beautiful home field and earn a degree closer to home.”

Head Coach Craig MuckleHead Coach Craig Muckle, who was hired last summer to lead the Buccaneers’ baseball program into the future, spoke of his excitement at giving local student athletes the chance to play the sport they love in their home county while earning their associate’s degree.

“To be able to have a home field, as a young athlete, it’s huge. Atlantic Cape, first and foremost, is about academics, but we realize that along with those academics that you only get to play sports for so long,” Muckle said. “To be able to have a field and a team with camaraderie for a few more years along with that pride and connection to your school, friends and county is amazing. Having a home field to bring everyone to, for the students to come out the back door and watch is going to change the way baseball is done at Atlantic Cape.”

Alumni Ricky Williams, Steven Nehmad and Bobby WoodsOn hand to revel in the celebration of the dawning of this new era of Atlantic Cape athletics were three alumni and former Buccaneer baseball players from the Class of 1968, Ricky Williams, Bobby Woods, who was drafted professionally by the Chicago Cubs in the fourth round of the 1969 draft and the Buccaneers’ head coach in 1976 as well, and Nehmad.

“This is the culmination of a lot of hard work. I thought at first this was going to be a herculean task and overwhelming, but if there is any place that has a special spot in my heart, it’s Atlantic Cape Community College. If not for the existence of this organization I never would have gone on to a secondary education and I would never have met the woman who has been my wife for 51 years,” Nehmad said. “When we started it looked like this task that was insurmountable, but slowly we chipped away at it to get us over the top. Now, we are finally there and we have come to the realization that this is a reality.”

Nehmad summed up the positive impact that Atlantic Cape and other institutions of higher education have on its students.

“If you can change the life of one person, you have changed the world and that is what Atlantic Cape does, it changes lives one person at a time,” Nehmad exclaimed.

View of the new baseball field from center fieldOnce completed, the new baseball field will feature a state-of-the-art digital scoreboard in center field, Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant bleachers along both baselines for spectator seating, two enclosed dugouts and two 80’x30’ bullpens. The field dimensions will measure 330 feet down the left and right field lines and 400 feet to straight away center field. Lights and a clubhouse, which were featured in the original architectural renderings, will be added at a later date.

“Being on the baseball team at Atlantic Cape involves more than just playing ball. It is about building character and being successful academically. Over the last decade our coaches have worked tirelessly to guide our players to grow as athletes, students and citizens,” Gaba said.

Visit for more information on Atlantic Cape’s Baseball Program. Visit our Flickr site to view a photo gallery of this groundbreaking event.


About Atlantic Cape Community College

Atlantic Cape Community College is a Middle States accredited, 2022 Achieving the Dream Leader College and Hispanic Serving Institution proudly serving the residents of Atlantic and Cape May counties. As a comprehensive, two-year community college, Atlantic Cape offers 47 undergraduate degree programs, and 33 certificate and workforce development professional series programs at its Mays Landing, Atlantic City and Cape May campuses. Atlantic Cape is home to the renowned Academy of Culinary Arts, rated the top culinary school in New Jersey, and for more than 50 years, our highly-acclaimed Nursing program. Atlantic Cape also partners with several four-year universities to offer students the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree without having to leave home.