Field Turf to be installed at Fitzgerald Stadium in the next few weeks
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - As spring training is fully underway in the MLB, baseball fans are preparing for the season.
Locally, fans are also gearing up for news from the stadium, in this case, Fitzgerald Stadium.
Fitzgerald Stadium is in the middle of a $5 million facelift.
The iconic facility, originally developed for the Basin League, needed handicap accessibility, new restrooms and concession areas in order to meet current standards.
The additional of Field Turf will also be important.
“What that really goes back to is the ability to maintain play when you have rain,” said Rod Johnson, Operations Management Engineer. “Within reason, they’ll be able to continue play. Why that’s so important is, they have a lot of tournament play here. They’re not really able to postpone or reschedule games.”
Johnson said high traffic areas, like the batter’s and catcher’s boxes and the pitcher’s mound, can be swapped for extra patches of the synthetic field.
This more durable, less maintenance option could allow for more events to take place at the stadium.
The turf is scheduled to be installed in April, and while the final work is being done on the buildings, Johnson said the addition of shade canopy will continue for the next few weeks.
Overall, there have been minimal delays in the construction, so Johnson expects the completion date to be on time for June 1. He is excited for the opportunities, both athletically and economically, the upgrades will offer.
“I’ve been out there a few times where you would see teams come in and those kids, you know, their eyes just light up,” said Johnson. “It’s a facility that the City is very proud of. It’s also really going to put us in a position where we think they’ll be able to bring in more tournaments, more teams, other events and act as economic stimulus for the City.”
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