NEW KCKCC SOFTBALL COMPLEX TO FEATURE ARTIFICIAL TURF
First all-weather field in Jayhawk Conference will greatly enhance field playability
Kansas City Kansas Community College is going to the head of the class with a new state-of-the-art softball complex.
Construction of the new facility will include installation of artificial turf on the infield and outfield, making KCKCC the first member of the Jayhawk Conference to have an all-weather field.
"It's an exciting time," said KCKCC head coach Kacy Tillery, who delivered the first sledge hammer blow on the demolition of the present dugouts Thursday.
In her 15th season as head coach, Tillery said the artificial turf should greatly reduce then number of game postponements and cancellations over the past few years. "Just this past spring we had 14 doubleheaders either cancelled or postponed by the weather and probably upwards of 50 or more over the last three years. And that doesn't approach the number of practices we lost because the field was not playable."
Tillery said most of the postponements and cancellations were not because of inclimate weather at game time but because of the condition of the field. "We'd have pools of water at home plate and first and third base," said Tillery. "Even this fall with as little rain as we've had there were days we could only practice from the pitcher's mound on out."
One of the major changes will be rotating the playing field with home plate facing in a southeasterly direction. "Home plate will be adjacent to the concession stand which will give fans much better access to the rest rooms and concessions," said Tillery. The rotation will also eliminate fielders on the right side of the infield having to look directly into the sun. "The new field will also be much safer. As it was, the infield was scary because you'd never know which direction a hard hit ground ball might go."
The KCKCC Buildings and Grounds Division in conjunction with the Dr. Thomas R. Burke Technical Center will construct new dugouts. Other changes will include a warm-up area and batting cage behind the third base dugout, a warm-up area for pitchers behind the visitor's dugout and a limited amount of parking for the handicapped.
Athletic Director Tony Tompkins, who submitted the renovation project last fall, said the new facility will have several carryover effects beyond a new field. "I'm extremely excited for our softball players and coaches to have the same opportunities as our baseball program," said Tompkins. "The new field will help in the recruiting process and allow our team to be a consistent competitor at the top of the region.
"Because of the many times our team wasn't able to play or practice because of the conditions of the field, it hurt the chances for our softball players to improve their skills and showcase their abilities to four-year institutions. Both Coach Tillery, her staff and players and I are most grateful for the support of KCKCC President Dr. Doris Givens, Dr. Susan Lindahl, Dr. Michael Vitale and our Board of Trustees in making these improvements for our softball program."