Baker field relocation taking shape
An abundance of rain this summer has been good for crops and has kept the lawn mowers busy, but it hasn't necessarily been kind to the realignment efforts with Baker University's fields at the Charlie Richard Sports Complex.
"Mother Nature has not been my best friend," said Baker athletic director Dan Harris, about the multi-million dollar, three-year project at the complex and Liston Stadium.
This year's work consists of switching locations of the baseball and softball game fields and football practice field. The softball and football practice fields were on the west end and the baseball field was south of Liston Stadium.
The softball and football practice field were moved earlier and now the work on the baseball field is underway.
"With the softball field, we were able to get a lot of it done. It is ahead of schedule, with fencing and irrigation completed. We've still got to do the laser-leveling of the infield," said Harris.
"With the practice football field, actually the rain was perfect for that," he said. "It's east of the softball field. We got that in just at the right time. We ut the sod in and it started raining," he said. "We've actually had to mow it a couple of times."
That's good, because football practice starts this week.
"The football practice field is in great shape," said Harris. "We've got to have that ready. We've got 100 kids and trainers starting on that field Sunday."
But, the good news stops with the softball and football practice field. The rain wasn't exactly welcome with the start of transplanting the baseball field.
"The problem with the baseball field is we were getting ready to do the laser grading when Mother Nature hit," he said. "We're probably two weeks behind because of that. We may be able to get the sod in in September.
"We were hoping to have it ready in the fall, but that's not going to happen," Harris said. "It will be this spring. The next step there is drainage and irrigation. Then they'll top it with a layer of sand. Then we'll lay the sod and simultaneously start the fence."
But, the biggest addition to the field will take some cooperation from Mother Nature for a change.
"After all of that, then we'll start on the bases for the lights," he said. "We'll need dry ground for that."
It will be the first time that the lighting will be available for baseball and softball, which is one of the major attractions. Unlike in the past, night games will be able to be played.
Last year, the first phase of the project was completed with renovation of Liston Stadium, including chair-back seating and a complete remake of the lockerroom area. This year's second phase was relocating the fields. Phase three next year will include artificial turf and a new track for Liston Stadium. Total cost of the entire project is $3.6 million.
For now, it's all taking shape -- with the exception of the time table for the baseball field.
"Inside the stadium is looking good. The football field which was planted last year is looking good. I'd say football is in good shape," said Harris. "The softball field is going good, but we've got to get caught up on the baseball field."