Sep 072008
 
Authors: Johhny Hart

When the CSU Rams baseball team took the field for their scrimmage Sunday, they stepped out on a new one.

Though the City Park South Ball Field on South Bryan St. has been in use since June, CSU and the city of Fort Collins officially dedicated the field to the CSU Rams club baseball team Sunday afternoon in front of a crowd roughly 100 people.

Agreed upon by the university and the city last fall, the total the cost of the field’s construction was estimated to be $200,000.

“(CSU) put the money in, and (the city) put in all the labor,” said Marsha Smeltzer, associate director of Campus Recreation.

Renovations to the field include the additions of dugouts, extenuation of the infield and fences and the building of batting cages and bullpens.

The field will be used by the Rams baseball team and a local club team, the Fort Collins Foxes.

“I think it shows that (club sports are) valued, that we appreciate what they do,” said Blanche Hughes, vice president for Student Affairs. “They spend a lot of money and time, especially in the club sport area. They’re dedicated to their sport, and anything we can do to help support them in those efforts, I think is our responsibility.”

CSU landscape architect Fred Haberecht and the city’s staff collaborated on the field’s design.

The general consensus among city and university officials was that the field is an improvement in comparison to the old campus field.

“It’s absolutely an upgrade,” said Mike Abernathy, club baseball team head coach. “The only negative is we’re off campus, but you really can’t argue how gorgeous this field is.”

Moving off campus was different, team president and left fielder Nick Stringari said, but the brand-new facility and maintenance help ease his worries.

“This field will maintain itself a lot better a lot longer,” Stringari said. “It’s definitely a better playing surface then we had at CSU.”

New practice flexibility is also a plus, Abernathy said, as the team no longer has to work around other sports’ schedules.

“We no longer have to share a facility with Ultimate Frisbee or lacrosse or whatever sports need to use the outfield,” Abernathy said.

Since the Rams play during September and October and March through May only, the city can use the field during the off-season.

“In doing this, it provides a facility for both of us, without making one or the other of us seek the same facility somewhere else,” Smeltzer said.

The students are the ultimate beneficiaries, though, Atteberry said.

“I think it’s great for the student athletes, I think it’s great for the community and for us as a city organization. We’ve embraced these guys playing here with open arms,” he said.

The ceremonies directly preceded a scrimmage between the CSU players and included guest speakers from both the university and the city of Fort Collins.

Staff writer Johnny Hart can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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