BROOKINGS – The Brookings School Board received an update Monday regarding proposed improvements to Bob Shelden Field, a facility that could use some updating according to Brookings Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Dan Brettschneider.
This was just an informational presentation, with no decisions regarding the project up for vote.
As Brettschneider explained, the complex was built in 1968 and its lighting system installed in 1980 that reused older equipment from Hillcrest Park.
“In a nutshell, the Bob Shelden complex, … there are some amenities in that facility that are really in need of updating due to the age and wear and tear,” Brettschneider said.
Work at Bob Shelden could begin sometime in 2020, he added, and would likely be done in phases.
To that end, architecture firm Confluence associate Lyle Pudwill restated the two main plans before the Brookings City Council, each with a variety of options for improvements that can be pursued or put aside.
The first plan calls for use of synthetic turf for the baseball field and the subvarsity football field, which overlap. This plan would see the football field relocated to the nearby track area. All this work would accomplish the outlined goals for their work at Bob Shelden and leave enough room and flexible space to later add on and further develop the complex.
The city would take on such improvements as the Bob Shelden grandstands and press box, the synthetic turf baseball field, the lighting there, the renovated entry plaza. The school district would handle such pieces as the potential relocation of the shot put area and the long jump, field drainage improvements on the existing football field and the addition of some field lighting, bleacher expansion and some options regarding parking expansion.
The result is that the school district would pay for a little more than $1 million of the work, while the city would pay for about $4.3 million, in line with what had been presented back in May to the school board.
The second option would have the subvarsity football field stay at Bob Shelden. Most of the school district’s cost would go into investing in the current facility at the track and grandstands, according to Pudwill. The school district’s commitment would be lower, however, at $820,000, while the city would still invest the same amount.
The team that worked on developing the plans for updating the Bob Shelden complex had six areas of work in mind.
The first is replacing and redesigning the grandstands to a more contemporary design and improved accessibility.
Next is redesigning the fencing, lighting system, signage and baseline spectator seating as well as putting the dugouts at ground level to help address drainage issues.
Third is updating the exterior appearance of the accessory buildings around the property, including the ticketing and utility buildings, the concessions, restrooms and the park maintenance garage.
Then there’s landscaping.
“With all of the visitors coming into Brookings to attend the tournaments, it’s really a first impression piece for those visitors, so we want to leave them with a good impression and also provide something that’s functional and easy to maintain for the parks department,” Pudwill said.
Parking was another concern, and they looked at different ways to expand that from its current 153 spaces to between 175 and 200 spaces.
The final piece sought to determine the type (natural vs. synthetic) and extent of the turf surface to be done at Bob Shelden.
Members of the school board had a few areas of concern themselves, however, such as the cost to the school district as it starts work on expanding Mickelson Middle School and starts to plan work on Medary Elementary and Hillcrest Elementary.
As board member Deb DeBates said, “I think there is a need, and I don’t have a problem with that,” before adding, “I’d hate to just jump right into a big project that’s going to cost a lot of money that people will look at and say, ‘Why are we doing this?’ … I know Bob Shelden needs some work, but I’m just concerned about the cost element when we look at everything else the district has to do.”
Contact Eric Sandbulte at [email protected].