If you’ve driven by the Waterville High School football/baseball field lately, you likely have noticed that it looks like the field is in a bigger disarray than normal. But contrary to initial impressions, what you are seeing are big improvements to Kellen Biggar Memorial Field, thanks to funds from the Capital Projects Levy and a generous award from the Seattle Mariners via the Mariners Cares Equipment Donation Grant. School officials hope that athletes and anybody else using the area will find vastly improved from what they have grown accustomed to seeing.
This past winter, the high school baseball team applied for a grant through the Seattle Mariners focusing on a field that had become unsafe due to the uneven ground and uneven grass growth due to having to convert the field from a football field into a baseball field and back every year without the proper equipment. The grant was supported by students, school staff, and local community members who agreed that the field needed an intervention. The Mariners agreed and awarded one of ten $5,000 grants to the Waterville baseball team for 2021.
The email announcing the grant’s award stated, “…your application demonstrated a significant need, passion from all athletes, coaches, and families involved in the program, and a genuine desire to bring the benefit of baseball and softball to your community. We know that all communities have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and hope that this award helps raise morale for your young athletes.”
While the grant was for the baseball team, the money was spent on field maintenance equipment designed to help all students who used the high school field, not just the baseball team. Funds were used to purchase a sod cutter to evenly cut infield base areas in a manner that would remove minimal topsoil. Furthermore, the team purchased a field roller to be regularly used throughout the year to help eliminate the uneven playing surface that has plagued both the football and baseball teams. An aerator and dethatcher were also purchased to help promote full grass growth year-round. The remaining funds were used towards grass seed to assist in the initial grass replacement the field needs.
Meanwhile, the district has allocated some of their funds from the Capital Levy Project to help complete the field’s improvements. Over the past several weeks, a new sprinkler system was installed to ensure that the entire baseball/football field would be properly watered. The old system missed several spots. The school did not stop there. This week, the field will be hydroseeded and a regular maintenance plan has been put in to place that will see the application of a top layer of a sand and fertilizer combination multiple times a year in addition to utilizing the new field equipment.
Waterville School District’s Facility Director, Tayn Kendrick, expressed his excitement in the project as it will benefit everybody who uses the field. He also noted that the community has taken notice of the improvements, noting several members of the youth baseball community have stopped by to discuss the changes.
“The youth baseball community is super excited about the field improvements,” stated Kendrick
As more people drive by and take notice of the field improvements taking place this summer, it is safe to assume they all will be very excited. Soon the Kellen Biggar Memorial Field will be transformed from an unsafe eyesore to a place that our sports teams can safely play on and take pride in calling their home field.