John Randall Field and its vicinity, Wahpeton, saw plenty of activity Tuesday, Aug. 4.
While boys’ tennis players practiced in pairs and solo, Wahpeton Parks and Recreation workers were managing the grass and soil. Alongside the athletes and groundskeepers were a crew with Gateway Builders, Fargo.
Gateway’s crane is being used to build a canopy and roof that will fully cover John Randall Field’s grandstand. The steel structure will match the dugouts’ roofs, Wahpeton Park Board President Joe Schreiner said.
“It’s going to be gorgeous when it’s all done,” Schreiner said.
The canopy has been designed to prevent birds from being able to nest, Schreiner explained. Other guest-friendly upgrades are coming soon.
“In the grandstand, the seating area will be sandblasted and resurfaced,” Schreiner said. “For the first five rows, we’ll have new, individual green plastic seats. Behind them will be aluminum bleachers.”
Approximately 250-300 spectators will be able to sit in the grandstand when it’s completed. There will also be a newly-built press box to complete the structure, as well as Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant ramps for convenient wheelchair access. One ramp will be located by the concession stand and the other will be located on the first base side.
“Baseball brings a lot of people from the area to Wahpeton and Breckenridge, which is what we told the city,” Schreiner said.
The John Randall Field improvements are budgeted at $400,000, and Schreiner expects that the final cost will either meet or slightly exceed that amount. Anything not covered by funding from the city of Wahpeton will come from baseball association funds.
“We will be very, very close,” Schreiner said.
Construction of the canopy and concrete work being completed ICS, Inc., Grand Forks, North Dakota, is expected to be completed by Saturday, Aug. 15.
“We were told it would be about two-and-a-half weeks from start to finish,” Schreiner said. “We’re at more than a week now. Of course, that’s weather permitting.”
Next up will be the new press box, which is expected to be completed in time for North Dakota State College of Science’s fall baseball games in September. It is possible John Randall Field will receive its rededication this fall, or the event might be held to the summer of 2021.
“We’ve made so many cosmetic changes,” Schreiner said. “There are new, nicer benches in the dugouts, as well as the helmet and bat racks. Comings soon will be a backstop on the inside behind home plate. It’s a padded, 3-inch plate. That’s going to be nice and it’ll be installed for the fall season.”
Look to Daily News, in print and online, for continued coverage of outdoor activities in the Twin Towns Area.