Repairs approved for BAHS baseball field

BELLEFONTE — With high school baseball right around the corner, the Bellefonte school board took a couple of necessary steps to get Governor’s Park ready for the upcoming season.

On Tuesday night, the board approved a replacement outfield fence and the addition of a scoreboard. The fence will cost the district $10,980, while the scoreboard installation will cost $13,224. The fencing work will be done by Warriors Mark Fencing, while the scoreboard installation will be performed by Strouse Electric.

Both votes were unanimous.

As far as the fence is concerned, the board had some more economical options, but chose not to simply put a Band-Aid on the fence and instead replace it. Board president Jon Guizar said that the replacement fence is necessary

“If I remember correctly, the discussion we had was, ‘we don’t see (the field) moving anytime in the future,'” Guizar said.

Guizar then asked Aaron Barto, director of physical plant, how soon the work on the fence would begin.

“As soon as you approve it, I can tell them,” Barto said.

The scoreboard is actually the old scoreboard from the field behind Rogers Stadium. The baseball team lost its field when an all-weather track was added to the stadium, forcing expansion onto the baseball field.

Board member Julie Fitzgerald asked if the expenditures would be the last prior to the start of the season.

“Is this probably the last (expense) we’ll likely see for the field to be playable and ready for this season?” Fitzgerald asked.

“For this season, yes,” said director of fiscal affairs, Ken Bean.

At a recent Bellefonte Borough meeting, council said that the district would be responsible for repairs and upgrades to the field.

In other baseball-related news, the board heard from Doug Weikel of the Bellefonte Baseball Booster Club. Weikel asked the board to consider adding a club baseball team for students in the seventh and eighth grade. It would essentially be a junior high baseball team. The booster club, he said, would help defray costs for such a program.

“A junior high program will be zero cost to the school district for at least three years,” Weikel explained. “We want to give an opportunity to baseball players in that age … there’s nothing from Little League until the summertime.”

Costs would be covered, Weikel said, by the booster club, parents and by fundraising. If approved, the team would use the field at Governor’s Park and would play other Mountain League teams beginning this season.

Athletic director Deb Moore said that playing in 2020 would not be a problem.

“I think we can get the schedule together … and we can get the uniforms ordered. We’re ready to go,” Moore said.

Board members did address some concerns. In addition to costs, they were concerned about students missing classes to attend games.

“The only things that we really had heard that might be against it is that you’re fearful of the future,” Weikel said. “I don’t think that fear is a reason to say no.”

The item will likely go to a vote at the next school board meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 25.