The Brenau University softball field has taken shape after “swamp” conditions earlier this year slowed progress.
“If we had perfect weather, the girls would already be here,” Jason Chester, of Carroll Daniel Construction Company, said Tuesday while watching the installation of the scoreboard and sign for the field.
Brenau President Ed Schrader said in late February the university hoped to play on the field this season.
At that point the field was “a swamp,” Chester said. The land is taking shape, and a softball field is now evident.
The scoreboard and sign were installed Tuesday morning and afternoon by Masstar Signs, a Greenville, S.C., company.
In just more than a month, Chester said, the land has been “laser graded,” partial fence installed, lights put up, subsoil for the outfield put down, a drainage system finished and an irrigation system put underground.
The field and associated amenities are the first phase of the “Ernest Ledford Grindle Athletics Park,” a 16.8-acre park with facilities for softball and soccer — and, perhaps, track — plus walking paths, parking, fieldhouse and bleachers.
Chester said “big hurdles” were overcome to get to the current phase. He said when work first started — in September 2015 — the crew “struck water and the whole project got shut down.” That led to the installation of a French drain system that will carry water from the upper side of the property, close to the Milliken plant, to a detention pond on the lower side.
Chester said three creeks came together on the property, requiring the drainage system.
Brenau’s softball team plays its final home game April 23. The team plays its last five series — 10 games — at home, starting April 13.Through Saturday the team had a 19-16 record, according to the school website.
Completion of the fence, building a fieldhouse, parking lot and access ramps, installing bleachers and sodding the field remain to be done.
Pacelot Milliken Enterprises donated the land. Former Coca-Cola Chair and CEO Doug Ivester and his wife, Kay, both of whom grew up in the New Holland mill community, donated funding for the first phase. Grindle is Kay Ivester’s late father.
The soccer field, which would be phase II of the park, is behind and below the softball field.