Rogers Sports Complex will have a much different look when fans and players arrive for next year's state softball tournament.
A grandstand project that is slated to increase overall capacity by nearly 1,000 seats on Diamonds 1 and 2 will begin soon, with a target finish date of June 1, 2015.
Lori Branderhorst, Fort Dodge's Parks and Recreation director, confirmed that the $590,000 in upgrades will be presented to the city council on Monday. A center bleacher area is scheduled for installation directly behind home plate on Diamonds 1 and 2. They are going to flank the current structures, which will be refurbished - along with the bleachers on baseball Diamond 3 - in the weeks following the conclusion of the '14 tourney.
An updated media facility is designed to perch atop the middle of the new structure as well on both softball fields. The center bleacher area could seat as many as 400 spectators on Diamond 1 and 340 on Diamond 2.
The grandstands are not covered, though more shaded areas will be installed throughout the complex before the '15 tournament.
THE CREDITS: Branderhorst and Rogers Sports Complex superintendent Jim Winter have unwavernig support from their respective staffs during state tournament week.
Ballpark maintenance crew members Glenn Yenger, Nick Vinson, Drew Ficken, Josh Hansen, Ben Schnurr, Nate Lentsch, Jerry Wagner, Shea Springer, Joey Gerdes, Jonah Egli and Nick Stafford do the work to keep the fields maintained properly. Operations and marketing supervisor Rachel Maehl and her husband, recreation administrator Ryan Maehl, are regulars at the complex throughout the tournament, along with concessions managers Aleah Lentsch, Kelsey Halverson, Lindsey Scherff and cashier manager Susan Winter.
The Fort Dodge Parks and Recreation commission includes Steve Daniel, Mark Campbell, Dennis Pilcher, Kirk Yung, Michael Payne and Mary Jo Waggoner.
THE UMPIRES: This year's state tournament umpires include, in order of experience, Stan Wisnieski (28 years), Phil Kudron (22), Terry Carson (18), Al Heim (18), Mark Amadeo (16), Steve McCann (15), Deb Richarz (15), Dewey Hupke (14), Kirk Park (12), Mark Brighton (12), Tom Topping (12), Roger Menke (12), Jeff Tank (11), Pat Pacha (11), Duane Duncan (9), Tom Moore (9), Troy Nicklaus (9), Richard Sebring (9), Gary Wax (9), Brian Knapp (8), Greg Buster (8), Tony Sauer (8), Al Stoltz (8), Stan Siebke (7), Karl Woolridge (7), Myron Jack (6), Jason Slater (6), Jerry Allison (5), Pete Peterson (5), Garth Workman (5), Paul Bird (4), Joe Havenhill (4), Tom Burger (4), Delbert Christensen (4), Allan Hermsen (4), Mark Paulsen (4), Cathy Creighton (4), Michael Bell (3), Mark Peterson (3), Terry Weisenborn (3), Tim Fredrickson (2), Chris Dobel (2), Julie Foglesong (2), Shannon McWhirter (2), Terry Gioffredi (1), Jorge Harwood (1), Doug Johnson (1), Mark Murphy (1), Tony Nelson (1), Tom Sullivan (1) and Sergio Villareal (1).
FINAL PITCH: Fort Dodge senior Lexi Astor has been invited to participate in the Iowa Girls Coaches Association all-star softball games on Monday, July 28, in Waukee.
Astor will play for the White squad at 4 and 6 p.m. on the Waukee High School campus.
Renee Maneman of Newell-Fonda is also on the roster, playing for the Red team.
There are seven student-athletes at state softball who were 2014 IGCA academic all-state honorees: Tabitha Taylor of Dallas Center-Grimes, Cassady Knudsen and Kaitlin Burdick from Southeast Polk, Ashley Burrows of Bondurant-Farrar, Paige Salz from St. Ansgar, Morghan Bean of Muscatine, and Madison Harger from Alburnett.