Construction on Scolinos baseball field continues into the 2019 fall semester. The last-minute decision to renovate the outfield playing surface began after a winning bid to host the 2020 California Collegiate Athletic Association’s (CCAA) championship.
According to Brian Swanson, the athletic director at Cal Poly Pomona, the project is on schedule and expected to be completed around mid-October.
While currently in stage two of the four-stage renovation, there have been no setbacks. However, after hearing the news that the Broncos will host the 2020 CCAA Championship, adjustments were made to the original renovation plans.
“Once we found out we’re going to be the host site for the baseball tournament, and because we hadn’t renovated that field, we made the decision to go ahead and put the new uniform grass playing surface in advance of this coming season,” Swanson said.
The renovations included a new pro-style safety net system, backstop, fencing and playing surface for both the infield and outfield.
The backstop has been shortened from 60 feet to 40 feet, and will also include a turf Bronco head logo.
A 3-foot-high concrete and brick wall has also been installed behind home plate. New fencing down right and left fields has been installed, which replaced the older, rotting fence.
“I’ve been here for 15 years, so I don’t know how long the grass we had was out there,” Swanson said. “They’ve taken all the old grass, everything is out of there and now they will do a lot of grading, so it’s more of a level playing surface.”
Fans will benefit from these renovations, as a deal with an outside vendor will provide new grandstand seating for the upcoming season.
The new seating will be installed in January and will be a temporary solution until permanent seating is addressed in phase three of future renovations.
“These renovations are important because it gives us players and coaches a sense of pride about our facilities,” senior infielder Brennan McKenzie said.
“I know my parents, who attend every game, are thrilled with [the renovations] because they were tired of sitting behind a rusty fence with terrible bleachers.”
As for the rest of the field, the grading process must be completed before the grass can be laid down. Scolinos Field will receive Tifway 419 Bermuda drought-tolerant grass, which has been a top selection for athletic fields.
The decision was made to use Tifway grass after seeing the results of it on the recently renovated Kellogg Stadium.
With only a two-month window, time was a major factor for the renovation.
“You needed to do it in a very timely manner and try to get our big, heavy machinery in and out before the students came back,” Swanson said. “That’s a big walkway for students coming from Lot B and the residence halls. It was very much a priority for us to get all the major work with the big equipment out before the start of school.”
Head coach Randy Betten also looks forward to seeing the Broncos’ home field transform into one of the most modern baseball fields in the state.
“It is unbelievable. It has kind of re-energized us a little bit,” Betten said. “We have upgraded stuff that is needed to enhance our baseball program moving forward. I’m really excited to watch the progress.”
As for the future, phase three is still in early discussions and a time frame has yet to be set.
Funding still must be secured before further plans to remodel the dugouts, design a press box, build permanent restrooms and stadium style seating are made.
“For the players that were here before, we always talked about this day coming, where the field will slowly evolve and to know all their hard work they put in allowed us to get to this point,” Betten said. “It’s exciting for past, current, and the future players.”
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