Rains delay seeding on new ballfield, board approves sodding softball outfield

Roxie Murphy
Staff Writer

Heavy and long-lasting rains this spring have delayed the completion of the baseball field at the Gasconade County R-2 campus, which resulted in the board of education approving a $10,000 sod purchase so teams can use the new facility this fall.

“This is on the baseball/softball field that you have already approved, but I just want to talk with you a minute about the weather,” said Dr. Chuck Garner, superintendent, on Monday. “We are really struggling and it has slowed down the progress. It’s not slowing us down on the turf portion as significantly as the outfield portion — the dirt portion.”

Garner said he doesn’t remember a wetter spring than this one. Since there have been enough dry days, workers have been able to lay down the gravel base and now the turf — in between rain.

“Maybe today (Monday), tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday, they will finish filling that with the sand and the rubber,” Garner said. “It’s the outfield portion that should have already been razor bladed, seeded and grass up — that’s the problem is that it is not done yet.”

Garner said not having an outfield established for the fall softball season is a problem. 

“Is the board interested in sodding just that section of the softball outfield?” he asked.

Garner reminded the board that softball fencing to 200 feet from home plate, versus baseball fencing, which is outside of that.

“So between the turf and the softball fence — the section would need to be sodded with standard grass that would need to be watered and we would seed the outside of that fence,” Garner said. “We would water that fence, get a stand, and in the fall we would get a stand outside of that fence for the rest of that.”

He said they would over-seed it in the spring again to get more grass to come in.

“We should already have grass out, and the problem is, I’d really rather not go back to the park for the softball season, have to tear that mound out, and then have to put that mound back in and pay all that.”

He said if the board is interested, the sod would cost about $10,000, but there would be a credit to the amount.

“But us saving that top soil from the football field that we put up at the bus barn — we thought we were going to get 20 loads and we got 47 loads — so we did not have to purchase any topsoil and should get a credit back from Berlin Jones. All we will have to pay for is the hauling from the bus barn to the field,” Garner said. “There should be a $3,000 to $4,000 credit, cutting that price down a little bit.”

Board President Glenn Ely looked at fellow board members for guidance.

“He’s a salesman, huh?” Ely joked.

Garner said they do not have another readily available place to play. Director Bill Seamon said he thinks they should lay down the sod so the kids can start playing.

“The only issue is you will see a transition from the sod to the grass in the first year or two until the grass takes hold enough to fill,” Garner said. “If the board is willing for me to negotiate to do just that softball (portion), I would appreciate that.”

Board members asked how much it would be to sod the whole field.

“The price I got was $10,000 to do just that and $40,000 to do it all,” Garner said.

Several whistled.

“Then there is the watering,” Garner said. “Making sure the sod can withstand the dryness of July.”

Director Russ Farrell asked if the sod would be the same as the grass seed they plan to spread later and Garner said yes. Director Nona Miller asked if they needed a bid, and Garner said no.

“Will this be everything now?” Miller asked.

“Except for the lights, yes,” Garner confirmed. “You will see a deduction also of that 30,000 square feet of seed.”

Director Debbie Landolt made a motion, seconded by Molly Steinbeck, to move forward with sodding the softball outfield. The motion was approved with a 7-0 vote. The district will buy sod from Turf Mark.

(For a report on new hires made Monday for the OHS and OMS coaches staffs, see Sports starting on page 17).