NORTH BEND — The North Bend School District’s softball fields are finally seeing upgrades.
Construction to improve the fields began almost three weeks ago. Though the district had plans to make these changes for years, delaying as it gathered funding, the wait had to end after the Oregon Department of Education completed a Title XI audit last March, which The World reported previously.
“In basketball, we play the same court, volleyball is in the same gym,” said Mike Forrester, North Bend High School’s athletic director, in an interview from October. “At that point, we already had a plan in place for improvements, but when ODE came down and performed their audit it did bring up additional questions we hadn’t considered.”
After months of deliberation on where the upgraded fields should go, ODE allowed the district to keep the fields on Oak Street.
Now work has begun to bring the playing field up to par with NBSD’s Clyde Allen stadium, which was donated to the district.
As Forrester explained to The World this week, the upgrades to the softball field are split into two phases. Phase One will cost approximately $460,000, while Phase Two will cost between $500,000 to $600,000, according to the district.
“We hope to start the second phase this summer,” he said. “Right now you can see at Oak Street they are building the batting cage. They have the walls going up and there will be a bathroom inside.”
Not only that, but the junior varsity field is to be moved 30 feet, allowing a walkway for the public to get down from the Head Start parking lot.
On a map, Forrester pointed to two berms of dirt that will soon be flattened.
“People sit on top of it and it’s a safety hazard,” he said. “We will get rid of that.”
The last phase is to put a building next to the fields complete with concessions, locker rooms, restrooms, and an area for an announcer.
“It will be equitable to Clyde Allen,” Forrester said.
Phase One is expected to finish by the end of softball season, while Phase Two should be completed before softball season starts next year.