$3.6M fields not ready for new season

Dreams of starting the 2018 baseball and softball season in a new stadium at Hays High may be going foul.

On Monday, Hays CISD leaders said the district won’t be able to meet the deadline of constructing the $3.6 million baseball and softball complex before the start of the season. Tim Savoy, Hays CISD public information officer, said the project should be completed by mid-spring, with both teams starting the season at their current facilities.

Hays High’s new complex, which was approved by voters in the May 2017 bond, is proposed to have a 1,000 seat baseball stadium, and a 600 seat softball field. The two fields are also proposed to have field turf installed, as opposed to grass. Carter Scherff, Hays CISD deputy superintendent, said the district’s preference is a turf field, but added it may be a budget constraint.

Preliminary cost estimates on the complex are unknown at this time, as the district doesn’t have geotechnical work, Scherff said.

Once the district receives that information, Hays CISD could know a “little better” whether to install grass or turf.

Hays CISD board trustees will ultimately consider what playing surface is installed, which will be part of the guaranteed maximum price (GMP).

“Our preference is turf. We’re driving hard on that because of the long term cost of putting in a grass field,” Scherff said.

One alternative solution could be reducing the number of seats at Hays High’s baseball stadium.

Cutting the number of seats to 600, which is the same number of seats at the High School No. 3 baseball stadium, could be an alternative to limit costs and allow installation of turf, Scherff said.

Hays High’s current baseball field holds 550 spectators.

Hays CISD administrators are also fielding and addressing concerns from the public regarding the field.

Betsy Russell, Hays CISD director of student activities, and Scherff met with a parent who was concerned about the orientation of the field, as well as available parking to the complex.

Scherff said administrators met with the parent and adjusted the fields and the parking issues.

Administrators have also met with the school’s baseball and softball coaches, who approved the final orientation of the fields.

“I know our timeline is off and we’re not going to be in completion by the time the season starts,” Vanessa Petrea, Hays CISD at-large board trustee said. “I know our baseball community is going to be disappointed.”

See the new baseball and softball field renderings online at www.haysfreepress.com.

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