Talks continue on a new ballpark for the Lafayette Aviators (summer collegiate; Prospect League), and city officials are trying to pinpoint a timeline for the project.
The Aviators currently play at Loeb Stadium, a ballpark that opened in 1940 and is past the point where it could be renovated into a workable facility. With that in mind, the solution the city has discussed is to tear down the ballpark and construct a new facility on the same site.
Plans have called for the $10 million ballpark to seat 2,500, and to be equipped with a field turf that supports events other than baseball. Fellow Prospect League facility Kokomo Municipal Stadium has been cited as Lafayette’s model, and that ballpark’s design firm–the Indianapolis-based American Structurepoint–has been brought in to work on the Lafayette project.
A new ballpark could be in place by 2019, but there are questions about how the project could be completed without interrupting Loeb Stadium’s three main baseball seasons–those of Lafayette Jefferson High School, the Aviators, and the Colt World Series. One solution that has been discussed is to tear Loeb Stadium down after the 2018 Colt World Series, and having it up and running by the time Lafayette Jefferson begins its season.
While it has not been decided what course the city will take, this option is gaining some traction. More from the Lafayette Courier & Journal:
“That’s something, quite frankly, I didn’t think it was possible,” [mayor Tony] Roswarski said. “I’ve always thought about the two-season schedule but at the last steering committee meeting they thought it was possible.”
Dan McClosky, senior project architect at American Structurepoint, said it’s feasible to construct Lafayette’s new stadium, which will have a seating capacity of around 2,500, in less than one year.
In fact, Kokomo’s Municipal Stadium was built in a similar time period.
“It’s all about preplanning and getting everything staged up and ready to go,” McCloskey said. “There’s a water line under the field but that can be done at a different time. That takes out some of the unknowns that might delay the construction period.”