September 27, 2022

Updated designs show school board members how players and fans will be positioned

Baseball field committee shifts field orientation

Updated designs from FRK Architects Engineers of the new Cardinal baseball field move the home plate to the northeast corner rather than the northwest corner. Members of the Newton Community School District's baseball committee say this change is better for player safety and quality-of-life.

Following the school board’s approval last month to use SAVE funds to construct a new baseball field, the architectural firm leading the designs of the project shared an updated design that moves home plate from the northwest side to the northeast side and assigns where the home and visitors teams will be in dugouts.

Rachelle Hines, of FRK Architects Engineers, presented the latest designs of the field to the Newton Community School District Board of Education during its meeting on Aug. 8. In addition to changing the orientation of the field, the designs added batting changes and a space for a future concessions stand or restroom.

Even though the baseball field committee and the district’s architectural firm moved the orientation of home plate, Hines noted the location is still not the optimal position, which would be the southwest corner. Putting home plate in the southwest corner would be challenging and would affect the water flow.

By having home plate closer north, it also allows spectators to more easily leave their vehicles and access the bleachers. If home was in either of the southern quadrants, fans would have to walk a long distance to the bleachers positioned behind home and along the first and third base line.

Darin Tisdale and Steve Barnett, who serve on the baseball field committee, said they thought of the viewpoints of spectators and players when making the decision to move home plate to the northeast side. The committee ultimately sided with the viewpoint of the players.

With the home base in the northwest corner, Tisdale said the shortstop, third baseman, left fielder, center fielder and the pitcher in some cases get sun directly in their eyes. Spring practice makes matters worse and players can’t see the ball because of the blinding setting sun. It’s a safety and quality of life issue.

By changing the home plate to the northeast corner, those headaches are gone. The visitors dugout on the east/third base side of field will have a little bit of indirect sun in their eyes, but Tisdale said it should not be a huge problem. The home team will also now be on the west/first base side of the baseball field.

The next step after making sure school board members are comfortable with the orientation is to move forward and continue working on the drawings, Hines said.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.