A long-awaited project in Centennial Park took a leap forward Jan. 22, when the Public Building Commission approved primary plans for a new restroom/concession/press box facility in the park.

“This has been on the list for quite a while,” said Suzanne Loomis, director of public works for the city of Newton. “It got moved up by the Public Building Commission about a year ago.”

The project, estimated at $376,000 including design and construction, had moved around the PBC master list for years. The time has finally come, with the commission setting a deadline for bids from contractors Feb. 22.

The Public Building Commission will borrow about $70,000 in funds from the city of Newton to get the project started next year. The PBC is scheduled to pay the city back the following year. The PBC is funded equally by the city, USD 373 and Newton Recreation Commission.

The facility, as drawn, will contain new bathrooms, an area for concession, storage for equipment, changing room for game officials and a new press box to serve Klein-Scott Field in Centennial Park. With its location, it the restrooms, changing room and storage area will serve multiple baseball fields and be the main restrooms for all of Centennial Park.

“We are trying to kill two birds with one stone,” Loomis said. “We tucked this up close to Klein Scott so that we could provide a new press box. The press box is small and it does not meet any kind of standards anywhere. They have to climb up a small ladder. … What we are trying to do is position the restroom/concession building so it will have an upper level to serve as the press box.”

A current facility in the park, served by a septic system until a sewer line extension project that recently was finished in the park, currently sits to the south of the main baseball diamonds. Across the main street entering the park from the large baseball diamonds, that facility will be razed once the new facility is completed.

The PBC set a bid deadline for the project of Feb. 22.

The bleachers at Klein Scott will be replaced at the same time of construction of the new building. Those bleachers will be paid for and installed by the Newton Recreation Commission.

The building will have an open-air concession area, rather than enclosed.

Loomis told the PBC that the city is investigating installing a prefabricated, two stall bathroom along the southern border of the park to serve some of the youth baseball and softball diamonds. The city installed something similar this year at the Spring Lake Splash Park in 2017.

The project to install a sewer line is complete — pending power being installed to serve a lift station within the park.

Construction of the new building is set for this spring. Loomis said if bids are approved next month, there will be a meeting for team representatives using the field to plan how construction can take place while seasons are being played on the fields.