Upgraded seating options are desired at Suplizio Field for Grand Junction Rockies (Rookie; Pioneer League) games, but the cost of a project remains an obstacle.
Suplizio Field has long been known within baseball circles as home to the Junior College World Series. It has served that purpose for decades, but was upgraded upon the arrival of the Rockies in 2012. The most striking change was the addition of a tower-like structure down the first base line that introduced modern stadium seats, plus group and hospitality options. That addition alone cost $8.5 million, which prevented the ballpark’ seating bowl from receiving additional renovations.
A few years later, team and city officials still desire further upgrades, mainly the addition of new seating throughout the ballpark. The bulk of Suplizio Field consists of aging bleacher units that offer sharp contrast from the popular seating within the tower area. City officials say that they are doing what they can to maintain the seating, but acknowledge that it limits the ballpark in terms of safety and amenities. More from The Daily Sentinel:
“Probably the most pressing need over there is the seats,” Grand Junction Parks and Recreation Director Rob Schoeber said. “From home plate around third base, as you go over there, you see there’s deterioration, discoloration and all that. We’ve tried to do some things to cosmetically make it better, but that’s a Band-Aid.”
The main grandstand is structurally sound, but some areas are starting to rust, as are the west stands on football’s Stocker Stadium.
The time to tackle that daunting project is coming, more for safety’s sake than asthetics.
“When we went through the renovation we looked at putting seats all the way around,” Schoeber said. “The problem with that is the infrastructure, the existing structure, it can’t accommodate seats.
“We tried, and the leg room and the rises, all that won’t accommodate that. You’re basically starting over there, taking out all the iron, steps, concourses and redoing that. That was about a $3 million price tag. If money was no object, that’s our first wish-list item.”
In addition to the JUCO World Series and the Rockies, Suplizio Field also hosts Colorado Mesa University’s baseball program. With baseball occurring throughout much of the year, any renovation would have to take place on a tight schedule–The Daily Sentinel estimates 4 1/2 months–to be completed without affecting any of the ballpark’s tenants.