Baker fields near completion
The second phase of the reconstruction to the Charlie Richard Sports Complex is coming close to being completed for the spring sports season.
"Weather permitting, they have done an outstanding job," Baker baseball coach Phil Hannon said of crew working on the facility. "The progress is coming along great. It's all going to be worth it."
The second phase includes switching the baseball and softball fields, and moving the practice football field, which is done. It also will add a new surface to the baseball and softball fields.
Baker Athletics Director Dan Harris said most of the major work is completed, but there is still some work to finish. But Harris did say the fields will be ready when the spring games start.
"They will be playable," Harris said of the fields. "Even without lights, we can play the games."
The softball field is primarily done, except to flatten out a few spots in the outfield and break up some of the infield rock. The new field will have better dugouts, grass all the way to fence and lights for night games.
"The lights are the number one change," Baker softball coach Jennifer Wright said. "It's something that we'll definitely take advantage of."
Wright said they field will also include warm-up areas. She said the new field will help the team and the university.
"Aesthetically, it's going to look much more pleasing to the eye," Wright said. "It's going to help with recruiting. The lights will help get people out to the games during the evening."
The finished parts of the baseball field include the dugouts, fencing, grass, grated infield and the wall to the backstop.
There are a few remaining things to be done, such as the backstop netting, bullpens and pulling the wire for the lights.
"With all the wet weather, the electricians haven't been able to pull the wiring for the lights," Hannon said. "They don't want to be electrocuted."
Hannon said the new baseball field will different dimensions with a bigger outfield, a new playing surface and the ability to play night games.
"It will be tremendous," Hannon said of the ability to play night games.
Harris said they do plan on adding a grandstand and pressbox to the baseball field, but are behind on the funding for them. He said the softball field has grandstands, and there is a plan for a pressbox in the future.
Harris also said the crew working on the fields has done a good job of getting work done.
"This is a good crew," Harris said. "If we need something done, they will drop what they are doing and help us. It's been a really good relationship."
Hannon has been helping the crew with the baseball field when he has the time, but he credits the crew for doing a great job.
"I have been helping when I can," Hannon said. "Our maintenance department, David Routh and Jeff Snyder, have really done a tremendous job."
Harris said the next step of the plan will be to expand the track to eight lanes and add field turf to the football field. But he said they are still waiting on enough money to start the phase. The track will be longer with tighter curves to accommodate the eighth lane, which will be added on the inside of the track.