Field of Dreams
On June 7, 2013, the LCPS Board of Education approved installing artificial turf at the Field of Dreams. The initial installation began later that month and is expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2013 football season. The project will cost approximately $800,000, with $310,000 coming in an appropriation from the New Mexico Legislature. Using artificial turf instead of grass at the FOD will save approximately 25 million gallons of water per year, as well as maintenance fees. And, it will allow the FOD to be used year-round. With grass, the field could not be used during the summer months, when new grass was being grown. The turf-replacement project will be completed by approximately August 15, 2013, when the 2013-14 high school football season begins. The Robert Cohen Company is the turf project contractor. UBU manufactured the artificial turf that will be used. See June and July 2013 FOD turf replacement work here.
FIELD OF DREAMS HISTORY
The need for a regional sports complex in the Las Cruces area was established in 1993. It was part of the City of Las Cruces’ Master Recreational Plan. In 1994, a Field of Dreams Task Force of more than 50 community volunteers from business, government, and the school district was formed to champion the cause for a sports complex. The concept of a “Joint Project and Partnership” for the development and use of such a facility emerged among the Las Cruces Public Schools, City of Las Cruces, Doña Ana County Commission, Bureau of Land Management, Elephant Butte Irrigation District, New Mexico Legislature, and corporate and private entities within the Las Cruces community.
LCPS has four general high schools, and was the only school district in New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona that did not have its own high school football stadium or its own baseball and softball fields. LCPS had to rent New Mexico State University’s football stadium for all home games and coordinate the use of the city’s baseball and softball fields. Youth, school aged, and adult athletic and recreational sport programs over-used each of these amenities. Requests for use of city facilities from community and recreational groups continued to increase. Building a sports complex was the best option to provide the necessary facilities for the school district’s athletic program and meet the demonstrated needs of our student and community population. It was estimated that a minimum of 77 community organizations and 300,000 participants would annually use the proposed facility, and more than one million people annually could attend scheduled events.
Initial planning of the Field of Dreams began in 1994 with input and representation from all parties. A master plan was completed that led to LCPS purchasing 100 acres of farmland located in the northwest quadrant of the City of Las Cruces. This acreage adjoined 45 of existing school district property to give the Field of Dreams Project 145 total acres for a sports complex. The agreed upon master plan was to build a stadium and sports complex to meet the growing needs of sport and recreational facilities in Doña Ana County. The project included and will include the construction of a 12,000-seat multi-purpose football stadium with an eight-lane track, baseball and softball fields, and seven youth soccer fields. In addition, 16 acres of land is available for a future sport-specific site or an elementary school.
In the summer of 1998, construction began on the $5.5 million multi-purpose football stadium with an eight-lane track. The addition of the $1.1 million seven-field soccer complex was completed in the spring of 2001. Construction on the $2 million four-field softball complex began in the summer of 2002 and was completed in the spring of 2003.
BASEBALL COMPLEX. Initial planning on a three-field baseball complex began in the summer of 2003. Construction of the $4.22 million project began in November 2011 and was completed in December 2012. The facility was paid for entirely with bonds approved by LCPS voters.
The baseball complex has bleacher seating for 910 people, an electronic scoreboard, outside stadium lights, an audio system, four press box rooms and two outside viewing terraces on the second floor, concessions, dugouts and batting cages, a training room and visitor and bus parking.
FOD SCOREBOARD. At a May 22, 2012 meeting, the LCPS Board of Education accepted a donation from Citizens Bank of Las Cruces that paid for a 32-foot-wide by 17-foot-tall (32’x17’) scoreboard, valued at approximately $50,000. Using LED light technology, the scoreboard features an enhanced message center and the ability to input team names for each game. It was ready to go when the football season began in August 2012.