Another year has passed and two phases of major improvements at the Mid-America Sports Complex have now been substantially completed and a third phase will be starting soon.
“We are about 99% complete with the construction contract for phases 1 and 2,” said Project Manager Jim Wilson. “We have completed designs for Phase 3 and are pricing / cost estimating the work in Phase 3 now. Phase 3 is expected to start Sept. 5. The project has been a challenge for both staff and the contractor, as we are playing through much of the construction operations at the complex.”
Public response to the improvements has been positive, staff report.
“I think they love the whole package,” said Sports & Facilities North Manager Doug Hite. “The turf and lights are the biggest likes, but we have also had a lot of talk about the Fan Zone, turf practice area, the hitting tunnels with lights, the drop-off area and entrance to the fields, the added parking lot lights, and how it looks like a new or different park. These allow us to have the ‘awe’ factor and help make leagues/tournaments an event and not just the same league/tournament that they are accustomed to. It is definitely attracting bigger events in both numbers and stature.”
Phase 1 improvements began in October 2020 and involved about $12 million in projects at MASC. It represented the start of a six-year renovation plan at MASC and at Mid-America West Sports Complex, which officials have called the most ambitious project in JCPRD’s history.
Phase 1 improvements included replacing lights on all 12 of the complex’s fields with LED lighting and installing artificial turf on the “Softball 1” quad, consisting of fields 1 through 4. Other components of this phase involved replacing the complex’s main entry gate, and constructing the new Fan Zone located west of fields 1 and 8 which includes concessions with seating, restrooms, an umpires’ room, manager’s office, an outside BBQ cooker, ten hitting tunnels, and an age-appropriate playground for ages four to 12, which is being sponsored by Core Equipment of Overland Park.
“The main items that remain on Phase 1 are the audio visual improvements, including eight televisions in the Fan Zone area, digital menu boards for concessions throughout the complex, and outdoor speakers for paging and other purposes, and completion of the Fan Zone’s playground,” Wilson said. “The rubber playground surfacing material was not available until spring 2022 due to supply chain issues. Because of this, the playground started very late in the project. The AV equipment is on order and we are waiting for delivery. Most of the electronic equipment has experienced supply chain delays on the project.”
Phase 2 improvements began in September 2021. This $10.3 million in projects mirrored Phase 1 with artificial turf installation and replacement of existing restrooms and concession areas on the “Softball 2” quad, involving fields 5 through 8. Other work in this phase included construction of a new maintenance building, more improvements to utilities and paving, parking, and lighting, and a turf warm-up and practice area.
“We opened Phase 2 on Friday, April 15, and hosted a National Slow-pitch Qualifier that weekend with 82 teams, of which half were from out of town,” Hite said. “Our slow-pitch tournaments are usually one-day tournaments, and with the number of teams, we had to play Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.”
Wilson added that the only portions still remaining in Phase 2 are what he called “punchlist and warranty items.”
The Phase 3 improvements scheduled to begin in September were previously estimated at about $9.12 million. This phase will again mirror the earlier phases with artificial turf installation and replacement of existing restrooms and concession areas near fields 9 and 10 and the complex’s two baseball fields. Parking improvements, utilities, and paving are also part of this phase.
“We are very excited for Phase 3 which will concentrate on turfing softball fields 9, 10, and the complex’s Royals and Fenway baseball fields,” Hite said. “There will be a new entrance area, concession stand, with two large shade structures between Royal/Fenway along with hitting and pitching tunnels for our users.”
Officials are anticipating completion of fields 9 and 10 by April 15 and completion of Fenway and Royals fields on May 15.
Following the completion of Phase 3, there will be a break of about a year for master planning and design before improvements plans cross Johnson Drive to the north for three phases of improvements at Mid-America Sports Complex West starting in 2024 and proceeding through 2026.
For the latest information of this project and photos showing progress, go to JCPRD.com/1475/Mid-America-Sports-Complex-Improvements.