New Belding athletic facilities taking shape

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 11:54 am on Thursday, August 02, 2012

A look at the new Belding High School softball field and the gymnasium behind it.

BELDING — It may be summertime, but there is a lot of action going on at Belding High School.

Construction work is continuing around the high school campus on all the athletic fields, including Rudness Field. Facility upgrades began in the spring and they are now beginning to take shape and near the finish line.

“It’s going well, but we are busy with a ton of stuff going on,” Belding athletic director Joel Wilker said.

A late addition to the construction process is the replacement of Rudness Field’s natural grass surface to a synthetic field. The change began once school recessed for the summer and is expected to be finished the start of August.

“The field is torn up and they have put in drainage and are replacing some of the fencing and sidewalks, as well,” Wilker said. “We are looking for Aug. 1 as our completion date. From everything I’ve seen they are on pace.”

The new turf — a popular change to many high school fields — will eliminate any concern with field conditions as the fall season moves forward.

“I think a lot of people are excited for a lot of reasons,” Wilker said. “The field gets so much use. As far as practicality it’s wonderful. Football, soccer, the band and some of the youth programs will be able to use it and we won’t have to worry about wear and tear.”

Rudness Field is getting a new synthetic playing surface. Drainage and leveling work is taking now at the field.

The biggest athletic project is the construction of the new Redskins Arena. The new facility will consist of multiple courts, an indoor track above the playing surface and an attached weight room.

“It’s been going great. They have been laying the floor,” Wilker said. “They were pretty much done with the main court. After they are done they will finish and paint the court. It’s exciting.”

The first event in the new gymnasium will be a volleyball match the second week of school.

The construction of the new gym forced the switching of the baseball and softball fields. The softball field is now located where the baseball field was and vice versa.

“They have been growing grass in the outfields, but they recently laid sod in the infield,” Wilker said. “They are finishing up some of the fencing, scoreboards are in and they are finishing some work on the press box and dugouts.”

Wilker said the batting cages are up and the fields will be ready for use in the spring.

The baseball field will have a traditional infield with dirt base paths. The old field had grass in the base paths and just a dirt area around the bases.

The track has been completed.

“The track is done, but they are working on some fencing still,” Wilker said. “We added new bleachers before the conference meet.”

Wilker said students, staff and community members are excited seeing the work take place.

“Everybody is just excited about all the positive things going on here,” Wilker said. “We are very thankful for our community to pass the bond.”

Now as the athletic facilities are wrapping up, work has begun on the inside offices.

“It’s an interesting contrast,” Wilker said. “You walk outside and they are working on some of the landscaping and you walk inside and think back to square one.”