Softball and baseball fields near completion

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Construction on the College’s new baseball and softball facilities continues on time, marching towards an expected completion date of October 31. The new fields are just one of many improvements made to campus over the summer, and are expected to provide numerous benefits not only for Colby Baseball and Softball, but also the College and Waterville communities as a whole.

The new baseball field, which will retain its old name of Coombs Field, and the new Softball field will both feature entirely turf playing surfaces, making the College the first NESCAC school to possess turf baseball and softball fields. The shift to turf better suits the harsh winters of Maine, as less time will be needed to maintain the natural grass that covers the current fields. In addition, as with all turf fields at the College, PPD will conduct snow removal during the winter, allowing intramural, club, and other community sports teams an area to play outdoors during the winter, weather allowing.

The new amenities on the fields are not just limited to modern playing surfaces, as they will also feature hitting tunnels, new bleachers, bullpens, and a full range of new luxuries for spectators and players alike. The fields will also feature a brand-new LED lighting system, allowing the College’s sports teams to use the fields later in the evening, a factor that had previously limited practice time. This is expected to be a major benefit to both the baseball and softball programs, as the new facilities will prove highly attractive to high school students considering coming to the College to play in either sport.

In addition to the Colby community, the fields are also expected to benefit the greater Waterville area. With the ability to convert the outfield into a 3/4 size soccer pitch, the new facilities will be available for a broad range of activities. In addition, there are plans to make the fields open to local high school and little league baseball teams, giving the Waterville community a field available for use year round.

As of this time, construction appears to be progressing on schedule — the dugouts and bleachers are largely constructed, the lighting towers are largely in place, and preparations for turf-laying are being completed on the playing surfaces. The construction, which began within a week of commencement in May, has shown incredible progress, driven by sense of urgency to complete the project before winter sets in.

The new athletic facilities have caused some changes to existing non-athletic facilities ­­­­­­­— the band shell was demolished to make way for the new softball field, and the Collins Observatory has been moved to the top of Runnals Hill. The new location includes a refurbished dome, new bathrooms, and greater distance between the observatory and the ambient light of Waterville. Overall, the new baseball and softball fields represent a major step forward for both the College and the Waterville community, providing a major asset for the baseball and softball programs.

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