Dubuque School District discusses moving forward with Senior baseball field renovation

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) -- The sound of a bat hitting a ball is the epitome of summer for some Dubuque Senior parents. However, many wish they had a better diamond to enjoy their favorite pastime.

The Dubuque Senior baseball team plays a home game in the summer of 2018. (Allison Wong, KCRG)

"The current state of the baseball field is in pretty bad shape," parent Jay Schiesl said.

According to Schiesl, there's a safety concern with the way the field is positioned.

"As the sun is setting, it's in the pitcher's eyes, it's in the center fielder's eyes, it can be in the shortstop's eyes, it can be in the second baseman's eyes," Schiesl said. "And as it sets it just gets worse and worse."

He said that poses many safety risks. "The way the game is played today, kids are hitting the balls harder, pitchers are throwing the ball harder, so the ball is coming off the bat a lot quicker, so it can become a safety issue.”

Light is also a concern. According to school district officials, Senior and Hempstead high schools are the only 4A baseball fields without lights in the state of Iowa. That means games have to start early.

Schiesl said, "as a parent, the games start at 3:30 and I rarely, I can't get to the first game."

A school board committee on Monday night discussed those concerns and more. School board member Tom Barton says it's clear from discussions this is a priority for the board.

"We want to be taking a look at final designs for the field in August, and then the administration with board approval will make recommendations to go forward," Barton explained.

Athletic Director Amy Hawkins is helping to come up with those designs.

She said, "The board has asked us to bring options back, so we'll bring back a variety of options. With turf, without turf. With lights, without lights. Moving the field, not moving the field. That of thing."

Barton says parents can feel confident that something will get done.

"Now it's about the mechanics of making sure that the funding is lined up from the various funding sources to make sure we can make good on the promise to do it," he said.