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Work begins on new Charles City school baseball and softball fields

  • Work begins Wednesday by Woodruff Construction on the new school baseball and softball fields near the Charles City High School. Press photo by Bob Steenson

  • Work begins Wednesday by Woodruff Construction on the new school baseball and softball fields near the Charles City High School. Press photo by Bob Steenson

  • Work begins Wednesday by Woodruff Construction on the new school baseball and softball fields near the Charles City High School. Press photo by Bob Steenson

  • Work begins Wednesday by Woodruff Construction on the new school baseball and softball fields near the Charles City High School. Press photo by Bob Steenson

  • Work begins Wednesday by Woodruff Construction on the new school baseball and softball fields near the Charles City High School. Press photo by Bob Steenson

By Bob Steenson, bsteenson@charlescitypress.com

Work began in earnest Wednesday clearing trees and moving dirt for the new Charles City school baseball and softball fields near the high school.

The Board of Education had approved the contract at its meeting Monday evening with Woodruff Construction for $2.05 million for the athletic complex.

Although the school district had cut down trees in the project area previously, the heavy equipment began work Wednesday. Two excavators and a bulldozer cleared trees, pulled up roots and loaded trees to be hauled away from an area south of Comet Drive, south of the high school/middle school buildings.

Sitting in the area north of Comet Drive were several huge tractors with dually wheels front and back, ready to pull scrapers across the area to create level playing fields.

Woodruff’s role in the project includes grading and other site work, removing and relocating part of Comet Drive, building the two ballfields and electrical installation. Total project cost including design and engineering, utility relocation and other expenses will be about $2.545 million.

The plan is to have the fields completed before the end of the year so that final preparations can be finished in time for the high school baseball and softball seasons beginning in the spring.

The baseball and softball complex will replace fields at Sportman’s Park that have regularly experienced flooding and caused cancellation and relocation of many games over the years.

In 2017 the school district had purchased 20 acres along Shadow Avenue north of Sportsman’s Park for a new sports complex expected to be built in 2020 or 2021, but school faculty and administration reconsidered that idea earlier this year and settled on building the complex on land the district owns between the high school and football field.

Lower overall cost and quicker development time were the key considerations in the change of plan.

The Board of Education is now considering whether to sell the Shadow Avenue property and use that money toward the new sports complex costs.

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