Field of dreams: new field takes form


Robert Harrington | Contributor to The Chart

Construction moves forward on the new baseball field being built on the eastern side of campus. It is expected to be finished for opening day against Upper Iowa on Feb. 14.

The clock is ticking down to the first pitch of baseball season, but don’t worry. Construction on the new field continues to move along.

Unseasonably warm winter temperatures and a 10-inch drop in average precipitation in the 2014 calendar year for southwest Missouri, according to the Missouri Climate Center, have assisted construction crews on the four major campus projects, including the new baseball field on the eastern side of campus.

“We have been given some pretty nice weather these past few weeks,” said Robert Harrington, director of the Physical Plant.

Opening day for the Missouri Southern baseball team is Feb. 14, when it hosts Upper Iowa for a double-header. According to Harrington and head coach Bryce Darnell, the field should be ready for competition by the first game.

“I have almost no doubt that the field will be ready by the scheduled first game,” said Darnell.

Crews are now installing artificial turf on the field. In the past week, construction of the batting cages began and the light poles were set.

After playing at Joe Becker Stadium off campus for the past several seasons, the Lions are eager to have a field of their own on campus.

“We built a great history at Joe Becker, but it’s great to finally have a home on campus,” said Darnell. “It’s not just great for the program moving forward, but also the players — it benefits the campus community.”

All three of the other projects are also on schedule, according to Harrington.

Residence Halls B and F are expected to be completely finished, both inside and out, in the next couple of days, while buildings A and C should be finished in March and D and E by the beginning of May.

“When the last two buildings are finished, we will begin work on the sidewalks and landscaping and everything will be turned over to us by July 1,” said Harrington.

Respectively, both the FEMA shelter and the fieldhouse are still on pace to be finished by their expected dates in June and the first of August.

“The FEMA shelter is up and they are currently working on the indoor electric and plumbing,” said Harrington. “There isn’t a lot to do in there – it’s kind of an open box.”

Problems with steel delivery slightly set progress on the fieldhouse back, but it is still scheduled for completion by the beginning of the fall semester.