As the softball field improvement project nears completion, Iola-Scandinavia softball coach Tom Anderson gave an update on what has been done this far.
“The original discussion for improvement to the softball field revolved around the infield dirt,” he said “After soil testing, it was found that 80 percent of the soil content of the infield was sand. Sand is great for absorbing water, but it does not hold firm and smooth during a game and really becomes a major safety factor.
“We expanded our thoughts to other areas of the softball facility that needed improvements,” he said. “We wanted to improve the dugouts areas and add a roof to each to provide rain and sun protection for the players. We were one of the few schools in the conference and the area that did not have a covering over their dugouts.”
Unfortunately, putting a roof on each of the original dugouts would create a sight-line obstruction for spectators, according to Anderson.
“It was decided to move the dugout away from the home plate area and create an area for the bleachers to greatly improve the view for the spectators,” he said. “This also included new backstop fencing and design for the openings to get on and off the field.”
The infield dirt was replaced in the fall of 2013, while new fencing for the backstop and pitching bullpen area, along with dugout gates, were also installed.
A concrete padding was laid in early August of this year to accommodate the spectator seating and new dugouts.
“Each dugout will include a new bench and roof to protect the players from the weather,” Anderson said. “We also wanted to improve the problem of rain runoff onto the field, so a retaining wall was built. The new concrete work around the field was sloped away from the field.
The project will be complete during the summer of 2015, Anderson said.
“We are always looking to make additional improvements to the softball complex,” he said. “We are planning to have a grand reopening this coming spring.”
The cost to complete this project will be about $35,000.
“Ninety-nine percent of this project was funded by donations from school and community organizations, businesses and individual families,” Anderson said. “We also received construction material contributions, in-kind construction assistance and many volunteer hours to fund raise and provide labor.”
Moving the batting cage, adding a practice infield and an irrigation system will be included in future plans.
Anyone interested in making additional donations can mail a check payable to I-S Softball Field Fund Drive to Iola-Scandinavia Schools c/o Business Office, 450 Division St., Iola, WI 54945. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.