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Park baseball field could see new turf

WHEELING — Wheeling Park High School’s athletic facilities are getting upgrades, and maybe now is the time to consider new turf for the existing baseball field, according to Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones.

He said the lack of new turf at the baseball field would become glaringly obvious to spectators as they look out on a recently completed new athletic field for softball near the baseball field, and an existing track area that is getting major upgrades.

“We really need to start the discussion of turfing the field,” Jones said. “Maybe not today … but we need to get a small group together and start looking at that possibility.

“I would rather — if we can afford it — get out in front of it and get it done for our baseball guys and make the whole campus look good.”

Jones’ thought is that new turf be installed across the field, including both the infield and outfield.

“Without that we would have two different turfs beside each other, and that could be problematic,” said Board President David Croft. “I have heard from some baseball folks that that outfield is atrocious.”

It is, Jones assured him.

Players, coaches, parents and supporters spend many hours preparing the field for play — and among them are Croft and his son, Jones said.

“We do put a lot of money each year into new dirt and the seeding that goes with that,” he said. “The real problem we didn’t anticipate is it’s going to rain all the time. It could start and stop around 2 p.m., and (girls) softball is going to be playing and baseball is going to be cancelled. Those days are not going to be fun.

“So if we can afford it, I think we should explore it, get some pricing, and see if this is something the board is willing to consider.”

Jones termed the new WPHS track “beautiful” even as it waits for lanes to be drawn upon it. It is painted red and white with blue exchange zones, and “looks awesome,” he said.

A slip there has been fixed, and fans will be able to sit all on one side. The area is tiered, and they will be able to place tents at top if they wish, according to Jones.

“Once we get this building … we can make a decision,” he said. “After that, everything will be caught up down there.

“The track used to be the gem of the Ohio Valley, but it’s not anymore. It has just become rundown.”

M&G Architects also has drawn up plans for a new building at the track that would contain concession stands and bathrooms. Board members have marvelled at a precast building that was placed at the new athletic field.

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