Baseball field construction to begin this fall

DOWAGIAC — The planning for the new baseball field across the street from Dowagiac Union High School continues, according to Chieftain Athletic Director Brent Nate.

The Dowagiac Board of Education unanimously approved the construction of a new baseball field at its June meeting. The cost of the project, which will include the construction of a press box and bathroom facilities, will be less than $290,000, according to Dowagiac Superintendent Jonathan Whan.

Dowagiac currently plays its home baseball games at Rotary Park. That field is owned by the city of Dowagiac. A new field across the street from the Chieftains’ soccer field was made possible through a lease agreement with the city involving the ICG building project, Whan said at the June board meeting.

Nate said the process has started. Recently, the grass was killed to create an outline of where the field will be located in what is known as Northwest Park.

“It is in motion,” Nate said. “With construction and working on a construction project of this size, there are a lot of moving pieces. It should be rolling in the next month. It everything falls into place construction and project-wise, in a perfect world, we would like to play there next spring.”

Despite current plans, Nate said that there is no guarantee in regards to the project timeline.

By bringing the baseball field back to the high school area, Whan and Nate said that the district is reestablishing its “campus.” The goal is to have all the facilities on-site. Future plans include construction of a new track and tennis courts.

Dowagiac is currently unable to run a meet on its track due to its condition, while the tennis courts also have condition issues that limit the number of courts available for competition.

“We are excited to have a place we can call our own,” Nate said. “The city of Dowagiac has been great allowing us to use Rotary all these years. It will create a campus facility around the high school.”

The new baseball field will have limited parking next to the actual field, but there is plenty of parking located across the street on the newly created parking facility that will be used by soccer, softball and football this fall.

Nate said that the field is nearly 10 years in the making.

“Things are coming together as we envisioned,” he said. “John Juroff [facilities director for Dowagiac Union Schools] and I have been working with previous superintendents and Superintendent Whan made it happen. We were all on the same page, and it finally came together.”

The baseball field will be the first of two phases. The second phase will include the building of press boxes at both the baseball and softball fields, as well as restrooms at the baseball field.

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