On the relatively new artificial turf infield at Wolfe Field in Caldwell, representatives of the College of Idaho and city of Caldwell talked about their combined efforts for additional improvements to the baseball field.
This time, the improvements will surround the playing surface that has been in use by the College of Idaho, American Legion and youth baseball teams the past three seasons.
“Certainly the students, including the American Legion and the high school students, along with the (C of I) team that use this facility have enjoyed that very much,” College of Idaho president Marvin Henberg said. “I’m not so sure our spectators have enjoyed it as much.”
The final additions to Wolfe Field were announced during a press conference Monday and the final phases would put fan amenities on par with the playing surface in front of them.
The planned construction will include more than 1,000 individual seats — with chair backs and arm rests — behind the backstop, a courtyard with concession stands and restrooms, press box, hitting cages, pitching mounds and new lighting.
The initial phase of the project — the field construction — cost nearly $800,000, and the new enhancements discussed Monday will increase the total project cost of Wolfe Field to $2,353,918. More than $1.5 million is needed to complete the project by 2013.
“We’ve got to have the money raised before we start the phases,” said Graye Wolfe, a contributor and leader on the project that is named in honor of his father, Duane.
Wolfe said he hopes all money needed will be raised within the next year. Money will be raised through $10,000 to $20,000 per year contributions for named priority seats at the new complex, as well as outside sales and contributions.
Wolfe initially donated $250,000 to get Wolfe Field underway and has remained heavily involved with the project.
“This was a way for our family to give back to the community what they gave us,” said Wolfe, whose family has sponsored the Golden Rule Shootout at the College of Idaho for years. “We thought this was an appropriate move two years ago and are solidly behind it.
“There’s no doubt that it’s one of the finest facilities, or will be one of the finest facilities in Idaho, which is exactly what the goal was when we started this.”
The goals are to host state baseball and regional NAIA baseball tournaments — and to make the field a destination for baseball in the Treasure Valley.
“This facility means so much to the city of Caldwell and to the Treasure Valley,” Caldwell mayor Garret Nancolas said.
“This is also a source of pride for the community.”
College of Idaho baseball coach Shawn Humberger said the benefits of Wolfe Field have been noticed the past three seasons and the stadium additions will continue to benefit his program and the community, as well.
“You’re going to bring in more fans and it’s going to have a huge financial impact on being able to bring more teams in, so we won’t have to travel as much,” he said. “People like to come to something like this.
“It would be nice to have something like that and get the community excited about baseball around here in the spring time,” he said.