City approves turf for Bickle-Schmidt Sports Complex

C. Jayden Smith
Hays Daily News

The Hays City Commission voted unanimously Thursday to award a base bid with five alternate projects worth $1,822,106 to Mid-America Sports Construction for the installation of synthetic turf at the Bickle-Schmidt Sports Complex.  

Turf, a stone base, drainage, and replacement panels will be added to the eight infields at the complex to complete the base bid.  

The alternate projects provide improvements to other features, allowing for expanded and easier play. The improvements include: 

–  Repairs to the transition zones where the infield dirt has moved into the outfield, creating a hump.

– Expanding Field No. 8 to have 90-foot bases and expands Fields 5 and 6 to have 80-foot bases. 

– Install turf in the 16 bullpens at the fields, in which there are two per field. 

– Provide 500 pounds of SBR infill rubber for the turf. 

– Remove and stockpile the current red infield dirt for use at Glassman Ballfields and Aubel Bickle Park. 

Alternate No. 4 will create two full-size fields for 14-year-old-and-under baseball tournaments that use 90-foot bases, and fields No. 5 and 6 will allow for 13-and-under tournaments. Field expansion will only occur at the southwest quad.  

Both Glassman and Aubel-Bickle are in “dire need” of red dirt and having alternate No. 10 will save thousands from their initial estimate of $45,000 to $50,000. 

“For $12,000, we won’t have to spend the ($45,000) and can basically just pay labor and equipment to haul it and some laser grading,” said Jeff Boyle, director of the parks department. “I think that’s a no-brainer as one of the alternates.”  

Since the previous week’s discussion, the Hays Recreation Commission was able to gather $50,000 to help cover the cost.  

Park department staff recommended allocating an additional $20,000 for contingency purposes, to bring the total of the project cost to $1,842,106. The recreation commission will provide a total of $750,000 and funds from the City Commission Capital Reserves will pay for the other $1,092,106. 

Mayor Sandy Jacobs called the transformation out at Bickle-Schmidt “amazing,” noting that more people have spoken to her about that subject than nearly any other item that has happened since she joined the commission. 

She thanked Commissioner Shaun Musil for his work, and congratulated the Recreation Commission and the Parks Department on their collaboration. 

“He has stayed with this project, he wanted it from the very beginning,” Jacobs said. “... It’s very near and dear to his heart, but it’s also a really wonderful thing for our community, not only from a quality-of-life issue but from an economic standpoint.” 

Musil added that improvements were necessary to remain economically “viable” and bring in more tournaments to keep up with other cities that are doing similar projects.  

Even with the past year’s pandemic, the city hosted 80 softball teams for tournaments. Musil said he was excited to see the future and the results of the expansion.  

Vice mayor Mason Ruder and the other commissioners expressed their gratitude for the recreation commission’s work.  

“By the end of this year, we’re going to have one of the best sports complexes around, that’s for sure,” Ruder said. “It’s a beautiful area now and it’s only getting better.”  

The shade structures nearing completion, the installment of new scoreboards beginning in June, and a finish date for the turf is targeted for the near the end of 2021 or early 2022.