It is safe to say that baseball fans will have a much different experience at Klein-Scott Field next season, the result of a summer of work that is winding down and some smaller projects slated for this fall.
The main baseball diamond at Centennial Park, the field plays home to Newton High School teams, two American Legion teams and the Newton Rebels — a summer college baseball team.
A project to construct a new press box, concession area, and bathrooms is, according to city staff, complete with only a "few punch list items" remaining.
There are other changes in store as well — like leaving home plate open as a plaza area rather than placing bleachers directly below the press box.
"As of right now we are leaving that open as a walk through and congregating area," said Brian Bascue, superintendent of the Newton Recreation Comission. "A number of high schools have gone to that. I kind of like it, it leaves it open and it leaves the umpires alone a little bit, too."
The Rec Commission will be installing new concrete pads for bleachers this fall, bleachers and a canopy for shade and as they do, the plan is to also install a shade structure on the third base side bleachers.
The cost of that project is estimated at about $64,000. It was approved by both the Recreation Commission and City Commissions this month.
"We are pulling up the old concrete and putting down new concrete under the bleachers," Bascue said. "... We are putting in a canvass canopy. We can take it down after the season is over, and it will be simple and easy. I think people are used to shade structures. We wanted to give the home fans the ability to be in shade."
Grading work for a new drainage system is complete as well.
The city is also discussing improvements to other baseball facilities within Centennial Park — including enlarging Kenny Williams Field to make it a "twin" of Klein-Scott.
The city is considering between $700,000 and $900,000 in improvements to baseball and softball facilities in Centennial Park.