BROOKINGS – The city of Brookings broke ground on renovating Bob Shelden Field earlier this month.
The plans are to renovate the field, dugouts, grandstand, area around the field and the parking lot. Brookings Parks & Rec Director Dusty Rodiek said the biggest reason they chose to do the renovation was because of the drainage system on the complex. A lot games were unable to be played even if it was not raining because the field would not drain and there would be large puddles in the infield.
“A lot of [the reasoning for the renovation] was because it never drained properly. Drainage is a big part of this product as well. … Along with the parking lot renovation is that they are going to be correcting the drainage. As a part of this project, it’s going to be a pilot project for permeable pavers for storm management. So a portion of the parking lot will have pavers that will allow water to permeate through them to help with storm water,” Rodiek said.
The total cost of the renovation is going to be $2.5 million with Friends of Baseball funding some of the project. They are hoping to have the construction done by Dec. 1, 2020.
The field itself is getting totally redone with synthetic field turf in the infield. The dimensions will be similar as it will be 320 feet on the left and right field lines, 365 feet in the gaps and 375 feet in center field. The two dugouts will be identical to what they were before, but there will be netting instead of a fence. There will be new bullpens as well.
“It’s going to be basically a comprehensive rehabilitation. Nearly everything is going to be changed in a sense. … Instead of chain link dugout system, there will be netting like many of the ballparks you see today,” Rodiek said.
The grandstand is being completely rebuilt and is going to have a 500-seat capacity. There will be a brand new press box with two media rooms. The press box will remain at the top of the bleachers and has a separated area for the public address announcer the scoreboard operator. They will keep the same scoreboard in place.
There will be a new plaza area on the outside of the field. There will also be new be brand new LED lights. Rodiek said the previous lighting was poor.
“Another large part of the project is the lighting,” Rodiek said. “We want to upgrade the lighting. The lighting that was existing did not provide adequate light for the field and the structures themselves were in poor condition.”
The parking lot is going to be completely redone as well. This will be the final phase of the construction and the new lot will have about 155 spaces. Right now, the lot is full of pot holes and the lines for the spaces are completely worn down and not visable.
“Another large component of the project is going to be completely redoing the parking area. If you’ve been down there, you know that it is in less than ideal shape,” Rodiek said.
One of the reasons for the renovation was that it would allow Brookings to host more events and tournaments. Such as the state amateur tournament and state legion tournament.
“It will certainly be a more attractive facility to host events at like tournaments. Whether it’s state amateur baseball. Some of the games can be played up here. It was an old age facility that was certainly in need of a face lift,” Rodiek said.
The Brookings Cubs, Brookings’ amateur team, the Brookings Bandits, Brookings’ legion team and the Brookings junior legion team all play their home games at Bob Shelden. They will be playing their home games in Aurora this summer and will return to Bob Shelden in 2021.