NEW PALTZ — The latest round of improvements to Campbell Field, home of the SUNY New Paltz baseball team, has begun.
This past Wednesday, university baseball coach Mike Juhl started the process himself by digging a trench in the outfield, which will help improve drainage in the left and right center field power alleys. Next week, Juhl expects to attach protective plastic capping and windscreen material to the fence, and then begin the process of installing a crushed-gravel warning track in the outfield.
Then after the team completes its non-traditional fall season in late September, Juhl will coordinate the relocation of the bullpen mounds to inside the fence and the moving of the backstop forward to decrease the amount of foul territory behind home plate.
Next summer, Juhl expects to replace the existing equipment storage building and purchase a full infield tarp. A permanent structure, which will house a press box and concession stand, and the addition of on-site bathrooms and field lighting are among the items in Juhl’s long-range plan.
In the three years since he was named Hawk baseball coach, Juhl has overseen numerous improvement projects at Campbell Field. But his most ambitious alterations came in 1999, when the park was enclosed with six-foot high fencing and professional grade foul poles were added.
That same year, a water line was installed under the field behind the pitcher’s mound, grass was added to the baselines, a flagpole was erected in center field and the pitcher’s mound and batter’s boxes were rebuilt. The baseline dimensions were made true, the roof on the equipment shed was replaced, and a concrete floor was poured for the field’s outdoor batting tunnel.
Other projects completed under Juhl’s watch include the addition of electricity to the backstop and batting tunnel areas, the removal of a swamp and the clearing of debris from behind the left field fence, the relocation of the outfield fence to lengthen the field dimensions, the construction of bullpen mounds on each side of the field, the purchasing of tarps to cover the bases, pitcher’s mound, home plate, and bullpens, and the removal of an old scoreboard.
In addition to his baseball duties, Juhl is the athletic department equipment manager and coordinates with the university facilities staff for the upkeep of the outdoor athletic fields.