NEW ULM - A phase of renovations to the Martin Luther College softball field that has taken 6-8 weeks is coming to a close and will have it ready to go for competition soon, said MLC Athletic Director Jim Unke.
Among certain fixes, Unke said a sprinkler system has now been installed, the right outfield is no longer uneven and a section of fencing is now intact.
"It was due and we just got it done," Unke said. "It was time."
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
The Martin Luther College softball field renovations are nearing completion for the 2014-15 school year. Athletic Director Jim Unke said planning was three years in the process and that the renovations began as soon as the 2014 MLC?softball season had concluded.
These renovations have come just shortly after the school finished its baseball field that will house MLC baseball for the first time ever next spring.
Planning for the renovations first took shape three years ago, but were put on hold for other projects on the agenda.
"We've been waiting with the budget to make sure that we could cover it and do it right," Unke said.
As soon as the 2014 softball season concluded, Unke said the groundscrew "killed" the grass in order to begin the renovations. The field was stripped of the old grass that was replaced.
Unke said his only regret was not being able to renovate the softball field before Barbara Leopold's retirement this past spring. Leopold retired from her post as the MLC softball coach after 37 years.
"It was tough timing, but [Leopold] was the one who was always meticulous with the field," Unke said. "The funding became available when it did, so we wanted to pursue it.
"Our goal is to keep our athletic facilities in great shape. It was the softball field's turn."
MLC went 15-16 and 9-12 in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference, where it finished fifth among eight teams last season.
The Knights will be under the direction of first-year coach Matt Pearson, who is taking over for Leopold.