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New Christensen-Buffington Hitting Facility Knocks It Out of the Park

April 29, 2024

Dorene Christensen ‘72 said what a lot of people were likely thinking on Saturday morning at Wolfe Field, where the College formally opened the new Christensen-Buffington Hitting Facility in front of a big crowd of friends and family.

“It’s bigger and better than I imagined,” Christensen said after walking through. “It’s fantastic.”

The new facility, which sits next to the baseball field, features a baseball locker room and five batting cages. The netting on the cages can be retracted, allowing the turf floor to be used for other forms of practice and work inside the building. It’s the culmination of well over 10 years of planning, fundraising and work to complete the Wolfe Field facility, from the field to seating to dugouts, scoreboard, bullpens, and now the final piece – the hitting facility that became a reality thanks to generous gifts from the Christensen and Buffington families. Both Carl Christensen ’70 and Dean Buffington ’63 were student-athletes at the College and their families remain strong supporters of their alma mater.

“We are so pleased and it’s all Dean Buffington, that’s my Deano, it’s for him,” said his widow, Judy, as she enjoyed the grand opening prior to the Yotes’ baseball game against rival Eastern Oregon. “He’s been gone over three years now and I think about him every minute of every day, so it has been wonderful.”

Carl Christensen helped put the first shovel into the ground before passing away in 2021. His widow said he would have been delighted with how the project turned out.

“He was a pretty humble guy, but he would be very happy to see this,” Christensen said. “As Carl said, we never dreamed that we would have the money to give to something like this, so we’re thankful and happy to give back.”

As a crowd of family, friends, and supporters – including head baseball coach Shawn Humberger ’89 and his players – looked on, there was one more family to thank.

Co-presidents Jim Everett and Doug Brigham ’87 invited Graye and Brenda Wolfe to the front of the audience, where they were presented with the Presidential Medallion for their time, energy, and support, including the baseball complex that bears the family name.

“We had no idea,” Graye Wolfe said. “It was a very nice surprise. We just came over to see (the grand opening). They didn’t tell me.”

Graye and Brenda were quick to mention the multitude of friends, supporters, and corporate partners who helped turn part of a Caldwell city park into the full, complete baseball facility it has become. Then Graye joined Dorene and Judy on the field, where they threw out ceremonial first pitches prior to the baseball game.

Before delivering his pitch, Wolfe acknowledged his happiness with the Christensen-Buffington Hitting Facility and said he may step into one of the cages one day himself.

“I played in college so I’d like to,” Wolfe said with a laugh. “But I haven’t done it yet.”

Visit the College's Flickr page to see a full gallery of images from Saturday's grand opening and Presidential Medallion presentation.

The College of Idaho has a 133-year-old legacy of excellence. The College is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition, and history of producing successful graduates, including eight Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit