High school baseball field to undergo renovations

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Thu., Jul. 26, 2012
The Windsor High School Field will undergo repairs in August after the town council approved an $80,000 project citing the safety of the student athletes. Photos by Colin Rajala.
The Windsor High School Field will undergo repairs in August after the town council approved an $80,000 project citing the safety of the student athletes. Photos by Colin Rajala.

Every Little Leaguer grows up with the hopes of being a high school baseball player. They look forward to putting on the freshly-ironed home whites and running onto the baseball field's pristine grass, hoping to make a diving play on the smooth dirt of the infield, to rob a homer on the warning track and to jump on home plate after a walk off hit to the cheers of friends and family from the grandstands. Unfortunately, Windsor baseball players have had to adjust their sights a bit. For many years, they have had to avoid the divots and uneven ground in the infield, evade wrinkles and tears in the outfield fence and elude the uneven home plate.

That may soon be changing, however. The Windsor Town Council unanimously voted in favor of funding an $80,000 project for much- needed improvements to the varsity baseball field, noting that the improvements need to be made for the safety and well-being of the athletes.

"The concerns about the conditions of the fields and the certain amenities have been identified in the last few years,” said Town Manager Peter Souza.  “I think it was time for us at least on an incremental basis to begin addressing those concerns. I think the funding that the town council approved will begin that process.”

The council's approval of the renovations overrides the town planning and zoning commission’s decision to reject the project proposal, based upon questions about whether they should be putting money into this particular field and also siting that the project failed to include enough improvements for the high school facility.

Eleven parents, along with other supporters and players attended the council meeting to voice their support of the renovations. The group shared many stories about the field's state of disrepair, citing the unsafe playing surface, and sharing "for instances," including the fact that visiting teams have declined to play on the field because of its condition. It is estimated that there have been no significant repairs to the field in at least a decade.

“I think it shows the council is willing to take necessary steps to support services and programs for the youth of Windsor, but also that the council can be too slow in responding to residents,” said Town Councilman Aaron Jubrey.  “It's something that should have happened a long time ago.”

The $80,000 project will cover a few major repairs of the field as well as some minor aspects. The main renovations will include a complete regrading, adding clay to the infield, installation of new sod in the infield, repairing and expanding the irrigation system and construction of dugouts. The minor repairs include resetting home plate and the pitcher’s mound, replacing and repairing the fence behind home plate and the outfield fence. The only safety concern not addressed in the project is the intense sun that beats down on the field from June to August.

“We've only authorized the minimum repairs needed to make the fields safer and dugouts more comfortable for the athletes, coaches,” Jubrey said. “When this project is done, we will not have state of the art facilities, and that's okay. But at least we will have fields that are safe and dugouts that offer some protection from the elements for the players and coaches. The ultimate goal is bigger than these renovations, but will require long term planning and a comprehensive plan for all of the facilities.”

Pursuant to the council's approval, bidding for the project is currently underway,with the repairs likely to begin in August.

“Ultimately, It will provide a better playing facility so that younger ball players will remain interested and want to play the sport,” Souza said.

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