The Dodger Stadium renovation project is more than halfway home.
Now, Fort Dodge Senior High athletic and activities director Tom Kinseth hopes the fundraising efforts gain a second wind.
An open house will unveil the new field turf this Tuesday evening inside the famed brick walls of one of the state's elite athletic facilities. Dinner begins the festivities at 6 p.m., with a program and tour to follow. The event is open to the public.
Messenger photo by Dana Recker
A bird’s eye view of Dodger Stadium’s new playing surface, installed by Midwest Fieldturf of Denison, from the plane of Fort Dodge’s Dean Getting.
To date, $986,485 has been pledged for the multi-step venture. Approximately $66,000 is still needed for the turf, with a little over $900,000 slated for phase two of the comprehensive plan.
''We're getting there,'' Kinseth said. ''We want to finish up the field fundraising first, but we're not stopping until we take care of the other issues and necessities as well.
''The (Stadium) committee decided that rather than having a drawn-out process, we'd ideally like to get everything wrapped up by the end of the year (in December). It's going to take a collective commitment from Dodgers, Gaels and Tritons alike, but I truly believe it can happen if we rally around this special community landmark.''
DODGER STADIUM FACTS
Built: 1939-40 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration (WPA) plan.
Opened: Oct. 4, 1940.
Wall structure: bricks from the old junior high building, which stood on the corner of 1st Avenue North and North 10th Street.
Football capacity (bleacher seats): 5,000.
Did you know? The baseball field, added in 1943, was designed by former Major League hitting coach Lew Fonseca.
Amount pledged to date: $986,485.
Still needed for turf: $66,000.
Still needed for phase two: $900,000.
Phase two projects: tuck pointing, lockerrooms, restrooms, bleachers and handrails.
For more information, visit www.fort-dodge.k12.ia.us
The next items on the agenda include new bleachers and handrails, tuck pointing to repair areas of the complex's famous the brick walls, and the renovation of the archaic restrooms and lockerrooms.
''After showing people the field, we're going to give tours of the bathrooms and especially the lockerrooms,'' Kinseth said. ''I think they'll be surprised by how antiquated they are. They basically haven't been touched since the stadium was built (in 1939).
''The tuck pointing is an on-going process. It's not an emergency situation, but we'd like to get it taken care of before it becomes one. It's just like having a brick house - it's reliable, but that doesn't mean it goes without maintenance. We don't want to get to the point where a wall crumbles and we replace it with chain link. You do that and it's never the same.''
The new playing surface, being installed by Midwest Fieldturf of Denison, is close to completion. Nine layers of sand and rubber will be added to raise the grass, beginning Monday. The ''big kickoff and introduction,'' according to Kinseth, will be the night of the Dodgers' pop scrimmage on Friday, Aug. 22.
Kinseth encourages Fort Dodge citizens young and old to attend the open house Tuesday.
''We want people to get a first-hand look at what we've done and what we need to do,'' Kinseth said. ''This has created a lot of excitement in the community; we have a constant stream of people - Dodgers, Gaels, Tritons or a combination of all three - popping their heads in and tracking the progress since day one, and we'd like to show them where we're at.
''We tend to take our facilities for granted here, whether it be Dodger Stadium, Rogers Park, the (Oleson Park) Bandshell, pools - whatever. We're spoiled. St. Edmond and Iowa Central are just as important to the future of Dodger Stadium as (FDSH); we have to join forces and take care of this gem we all love in our own backyard.''
Contact Eric Pratt at (515) 573-2141, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org