When John Hill III and his coaching staff took over the FSCC program in the fall of 2008, the first thing they did was build a new right field wall because the old one was crumbling. At the time, they estimated a 3-5 year life span for the fence. After the last couple of extreme winters and last summer's consistently hot temperatures, it became apparent that they overestimated the life of the fence.
After meeting Don Pemberton, the owner of Bandera Stone, and discussing different ideas with him, FSCC Baseball had a better vision of what could be.
"His ideas lead us to a decision to build a fence that would not only look first class, but stand the test of time through all weather," Hill, a former Nevada Griffons head coach, said.
However, as with so many different projects that take place with facility development, the baseball program found out there was a lot more to the equation than first expected.
"Thank goodness we have great people at the college and in the community who helped educate me on the entire process," Hill said. "I contacted Chris Sterrett, who is in charge of our construction trades program, and he was extremely supportive. I met with him and his faculty in charge of concrete, Kim Coates, and masonry, Nacoma Oehme. They walked the field and listened to our ideas and offered their expertise and assistance. This project could not have occurred without the support of and great work done by Fort Scott Community College's Construction Trades faculty and students."
Once the school's construction trades program was committed to helping make the project a reality, Pemberton advised Coach Hill to arrange for excavation and concrete footings to be poured. After a long search, Basalite Concrete Products of Denver, Colo., offered its support by providing the stone blocks that would be laid by the construction trades students. In late October, the project began. The construction trades masonry students, led by Oehme, finished the project in a little over two weeks. Pemberton and Bandera Stone provided the veneer stone that is on the top and inside of the wall facing the playing field. Pemberton himself cut and placed the stone on the wall which was completed December 23.
"The completed wall project could not have happened without the help of so many people," Hill said. "Our players worked hard in their fundraising and we received hundreds of donations that went into this project to help pay for the excavation, footings, and materials. We are very proud that we used zero tax-based monies from our budget for this project. The Construction Trades program and their students did a fantastic job. Chris, Kim, and Nacoma were a lot of fun to work with and did a great job of educating me on the process.
"Basalite Concrete Products helped a tremendous amount with materials. Of course, Don Pemberton and his company, Bandera Stone were the kick-starters on this project. Without Don spear-heading this project, it would never have been completed."
There are future plans to make another stone wall down the left-field line . This project will continue to require support and materials from multiple groups.
"We have big ideas and plans for future projects at our field," Hill says. "All of them will require the combined efforts of many groups like this project did. After seeing the finished product, we are even more excited for the future development of our field. Our players and coaching staff will continue to work hard to make our supporters proud of what we do in the community, classroom, and on the field."