Construction to start on new Little League dugouts
Community volunteers are asked to help build new dugouts at Fairfield’s Little League ball fields beginning this weekend.
Workers will begin at noon Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday to start the project.
“This is a great opportunity for community service hours for high school students, or anyone with a vested interest in the Little League and our community,” said Mark Myers, a Little League board member.
He estimated the work would take about four weekends.
“In early February, David Waters and I noticed that the front wall of both major field dugouts were severely cracked and falling into the dugouts themselves,” said Myers.
“It was decided at the following board meeting that these dugouts are unsafe for players, and that funds from Operation Facelift, along with any other donations, would be directed toward a permanent solution.”
Fairfield Kiwanis Club has donated $2,500 to the dugout project, said Catherine Schafer, Little League board president.
“Kiwanis has been a long standing supporter of Little League, they have been sponsors for the past 30 years,” she said. “They have been very generous.”
Chad and Royse Huff of Huff Financial Group and New York Life donated $1,000, as well as material for the benches, said Myers.
After much debate and careful consideration, it was decided the new dugouts would be built at ground level, rather than fixing the walls and leaving the dugouts as is, he said.
The current dugouts were built around 1962, and are two of only a few remaining dugouts that are actually in-ground.
‘This not only creates a great nostalgic look, but holds quite a bit of sentimental value for Fairfield residents,” said Myers.
“Constructing new dugouts at ground level means we can alleviate virtually all of the issues we were having in the past — such as the dugouts filling with water and muck during heavy storms.”
The 50-year-old dugouts have other repair issues, such as the shingles need replacing, Myers said.
“Cost is also a key factor,” he said. “For what it would cost to fix the walls, we can essentially build new dugouts above ground.”
The new dugouts will be 25-feet wide by 8-feet deep. The roof will be 8-feet tall in the back, and pitched up to 9-feet in the front.
The bottom 4-feet of the walls will be built with cinder blocks, and the remaining height will be chain-link fence, provided by Norm Gegner.
The blocks and concrete will be purchased through Ideal Ready Mix in Fairfield, part of which has been donated, added Myers.
“Our initial plans include a 15-foot bench with a top shelf, like Libertyville uses, or like those you see in the major leagues,” said Myers.
“Waste Management has offered to place bins in the dugouts for trash and recyclable materials. There will be a 4-foot-by-4-foot half-wall, with the remaining cubby hole area to house a bat rack along with shelving for helmets and other equipment,” said Myers.
“Local contractors, including board members Waters and Jeremy Jeffrey, and Mike Carlson, have offered their services toward the construction of this project,” he said. “However, more help and expert advice is always welcome.”
Beginning Saturday, the dugout holes will be filled and the floors poured, said Myers. The corners of the walls will be built the following weekend. The third weekend will be used to finish the walls. The final weekend will be used to add the roofs, benches and final cosmetic touches.
The initial plan for Operation Facelift funds was to build batting cages on the 2.97 acres of land that was recently donated by the Maharishi University of Management Board of Trustees.
“When player safety is involved, we needed to reset our priorities,” said Myers. “The funds are to be used for the Little League facility as a whole, and donors will still be able to see how their donations have helped the Little League.
“The cages will be built, but we need take care of our players first,” he said.
The board is asking anyone who would like to donate material, labor or additional funds to the project to contact Myers at 919-3653.