Hamilton hard at work after stadium plan OK’d

Jamie Hamilton wasted no time Wednesday to start paying for renovations to Stocker Stadium.

An hour after Grand Junction City Council members OK’d a plan to secure funding for the $8.3 million project, Hamilton was on the phone with Mary Ellen Leicht, the executive director of the NJCAA.

The topic of their conversation was simple: When can a 25-year contract extension between her organization and Grand Junction Baseball, Inc., be signed to ensure Suplizio Field remains the home of the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series?

“She’s very pleased,” Hamilton, the chairman of the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series, said after talking with Leicht. “She said she’d get with the executive committee and work on (the contract) as soon as possible.

“The sooner we get to the bond market, the better rate we can get, and she understands that sense of urgency. She thought they could get it done in the next two weeks.”

The NJCAA Executive Council agreed in January to extend Grand Junction’s contract for another 25 years if Hamilton could secure approval for the project.

Based on the average of the past 15 years, JUCO nets approximately $300,000 per year, Hamilton said, which will pay JUCO’s portion of the project cost, estimated to be between $455,000 and $532,000 annually.

Construction prices have dropped the cost from $16 to $8.3 million since it first went out for bid, the main reason Hamilton wants to start the project now.

He’s charged with raising another $1.3 to $2.3 million from grants, foundations or private donations, depending on the amount of the bond issued (expected to be between $6-7 million).

“There’s no debt and no general funds (from the city) will be used,” Hamilton said. “I still have to go find between one and two million.”

He’s had preliminary discussions with several groups, including the El Pomar Foundation, the Gates Foundation and the Colorado Rockies Foundation.

“These foundations like to leverage dollars to get projects complete,” Hamilton said, citing the Denver Broncos’ donation to install artificial turf on Stocker Stadium’s football field in 2007.

Pending final resolution to grant bonding authority, work will begin on the stadium as soon as the 2011 JUCO World Series ends.

The project will involve demolishing the east stands on the football field, the first-base bleachers on the baseball side, the pressbox, the concession stand/restroom building and both baseball dugouts.

A large concourse, with concession stands and restrooms, will become the main entrance to the facility.

A two-level structure above the stands will feature a skybox and new pressbox.

The skybox can be used for meetings and will be rented for games or other stadium events. An elevator will provide access to the skybox and pressbox.

Both baseball dugouts will be rebuilt and expanded and the area behind the main baseball grandstands will become an open plaza area.

Football and baseball games will be played during construction, scheduled for completion before the first pitch of the 2012 JUCO World Series.


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