Ballinger Independent School District superintendent Jeff Butts says that the Ballinger High School baseball field will be ready when the season opens.

The baseball field was completely destroyed by the tornado on May 18th. The school district had to leave the field as-is for several weeks while waiting for the insurance company to come survey the damage. Butts said that the district began the laborious task of cleaning up the damage and preparing to rebuild the facility once the insurance company gave them the go-ahead, “Due to the baseball field being destroyed, the reconstruction of the facility will be much more expensive than the track field.”

Butts says that the track is scheduled to be resurfaced in December.

The cost to rebuild the baseball field is over $100,000, which requires the district to hire an architect and designer. Butts said that while they were in the process of going through the details of rebuilding the field that they looked at moving the field to another location, “Moving the field would have cost about $250,000 more than the cost of simply rebuilding it in its current location. We want to be as diligent with the funds as we can possibly be.”

The school board ended up hiring the Martin Architect Firm as the design professional. The school board also had to use the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) delivery method for reconstruction of the baseball field. Once the CMAR is selected, they will be working with Jacob and Martin to finalize the design of the baseball field. According to Butts, the architects from Jacob and Martin have already started some of the fieldwork ahead of time.

Butts also detailed how the construction would proceed; “Per the UIL calendar, baseball teams can begin practicing on January 31st. Due to the short timeline that we have before baseball season begins, we will be approaching the construction project in two phases. The goal of phase one will be to get the playing surface repaired, at least temporary dugouts installed, fencing/backstop replaced, bleachers installed and batting cages built. It would be nice if we could get the lights up as well. The main goal of phase one is to get the field in shape to where we can practice on it. We hope to have it ready to play our games on it this baseball season as well. The goal of phase two will consist of building the press box, concession stand and bathrooms for the field. This will take place after the baseball season is over, which we hope will be in June.

We want to ensure that we move as quickly as possible on the reconstruction of our baseball field. However, we also want to make sure that the project is done correctly. Barring another tornado, the facility will be around for many years to come.”