Carthage School Board approves specs for new baseball field

Jan. 16—CARTHAGE, Mo. — The Carthage Board of Education voted unanimously Monday night to approve specifications for the new baseball field to be built this year at Carthage High School.

It's the second time the board has approved specifications. A first try ended up with the lowest bidder backing out and the board rejecting all the bidders and voting to try a new approach.

Superintendent Luke Boyer said the district is dividing the bid specifications up in hopes of getting lower bids from contractors specializing in the different elements of the stadium.

The specifications approved this week were only for the turf field, utility site work, building pads and stadium lights.

Boyer said the district will look at where those bids come in next month and possibly approve one. The district will also have a better idea how much of donated money the turf will take up and how much it has left for a phase two, which will include seating, the buildings, sidewalks and a plaza area.

"Following the Nov. 9 bid opening, which had the entire project included into a single bid, the school district staff requested the project be separated into two separate bids," according to a written summary included in the packet presented to the board Monday. "The overall scope of the project remains unchanged, the job is simply being split into smaller parts in the hopes of making the project more accessible to more contractors."

The bid summary said the second phase of the project won't be considered until April because contractors can only honor their bids for a limited amount of time.


The new baseball stadium will be built in what is now a grass field along Airport Drive behind the high school and in front of the Carthage Technical Center South building.

It is being paid for by donations. Fundraising kicked off with a $2.5 million grant from the Kent D. And Mary L. Steadley Trust earlier in 2023 and includes a $300,000 grant for naming rights from the McCune-Brooks Regional Hospital Trust, approved by the Carthage City Council in December.

Boyer said the district has received thousands in donations from area residents and that people can still donate to the project.

The stadium is expected to be ready in time for the 2025 baseball season.

In 2024

In the meantime, the Carthage Parks and Recreation Department is working to make Carl Lewton Stadium usable for the Carthage Tigers baseball team to play regular-season games in 2024.

The old stadium's stands were determined by an engineer to be unusable early in 2023 because of concrete deterioration and cracks. The baseball team was allowed to practice at the stadium, but games were played at Joe Becker Stadium or Wendall Redden Field in Joplin.

The city tore down the old rock and concrete stands and cinder block outfield fence in May and has since installed a new outfield fence.

Abi Almandinger, director of the Carthage Parks Department, said the city is working to install a concrete pad and new bleachers so games can be played there this spring.

"The outfield fence is already up, and the next step in the process is getting electricity connected to the locker rooms and the stadium lights," Almandinger said. "We already have a scoreboard on order, and bleachers are coming very soon as well, so we're moving right along."

Almandinger said the city is hoping to have the seating and everything in place by the end of February and definitely plans to have the stadium ready for the start of baseball in March.

The Tigers open their season March 15 on the road at the Lamar Tigers Varsity Classic before coming home to play a junior varsity game against Carl Junction.

The first of four home varsity games in a row starts with games against the Father Tolton Catholic Trailblazers at 4:30 p.m. March 27.