JUCO Q&A: Suplizio Field

Take a good look at the Suplizio Field first-base stands, pressbox and the dugouts this week.

You won’t recognize them next year.

The Monday after the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series, the stands and pressbox are coming down. Before the game June 3, those involved with the $8.3 million project will “break ground” in front of the teams and fans.

For the rest of the calendar year and into 2012, the stadium will become a construction zone.

By the time the project is completed in time for next year’s World Series, if not earlier, it will look like a whole new ballpark.

What can we expect to see different?

“I think there are several things,” Grand Junction Parks & Recreation Director Rob Shoeber said. “The access points will be much greater. As you go in facility now, our ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) seating is pathetic. We will utilize the walkways for that purpose.

“There will be designated ADA seating and companion seating. There will also be designated seat backs in that (first base) section. That’s part of the issue with capacity with bench seating.”

The first-base stands will have individual seats with cup holders. The seating capacity for both the baseball and football stadium will increase by about 150.

The new pressbox will be the first thing to catch the attention of the public.

It will have two levels and is expected to be at least 80 feet high, or as high as the light fixtures. An elevator will provide access instead of walking up the football bleachers.

The first level will house the scoreboard operator, announcer, officials and the media.

The top level will be a hospitality area and can accommodate up to 200 people.

Fans will enter both the football and baseball seating areas in a concourse, with new concession stands and new restrooms.

The first- and third-base dugouts are also being expanded.

Grand Junction Baseball, Inc., the nonprofit organization that runs the JUCO World Series, is raising money to pay for the project through grants and donations.

The Parks Improvement Advisory Board has pledged $250,000, with another $200,000 secured by an unidentified source.

The Grand Junction Lions Club chipped in $25,000 for the dugouts.

# # #

Q: What happens if a home run hits my car and breaks my windshield?
A: “It’s the owner’s responsibility. Once, an outfielder got mad at fans and drilled some car.” — Mort.

Q: Do we have a handicapped seating area?
A: “We have handicap seating and parking, but not a lot of it. That’s why we’re doing a remodel. Right now, (the seating is) between home plate and the third base dugout and on the concrete behind the first base dugout.” — Mort.

Q: Have you heard of any chance of a Jumbotron for replay action coming to the field?
A: “The last bid was $750,000. We have no desire to do it for 19 games, and it costs six figures to rent them. Another problem is you’ve got to have the expertise to run them. It’s not economically viable.” — JUCO Chairman Jamie Hamilton.

Q: Is Suplizio Field from considered an up-to-date minor league field?
A: “It does not meet all the Major League Baseball standards at this time. One is lighting capacity and the power to handle television. The second major deficiency is the clubhouses don’t empty into the field.” — Hamilton.

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