Lincoln County baseball facilities were long overdue an overhaul. For many years baseball enthusiasts have requested better facilities for the youth of Lincoln County. The Facilities were in such disrepair that the restrooms were no longer usable, the fields were more like pastures and the fan viewing area and parking were no longer functional. In addition, the facilities did not meet the requirements for league play or those to host any type of tournament. The current fields were also located on highly valuable industrial property. This property is one of the last remaining sites with direct rail access in Lincoln County. The fields needed to be moved to free up this property for industrial development. Since relocation of these fields a company now has an option on this property and the goal is to have an active industry on this site in the future.
In late 2012 the appetite began to grown for new facilities. The roadmap for how that was to be completed was still undetermined. In the fall of 2012 several community leaders including Principal at Dungan Engineering, Ryan Holmes set out on a 6 month feasibility study to establish the objectives for the proposed baseball complex, study the local market, determine the local and regional needs, to determine the size, location and conceptual design, and determine costs and potential funding options.
Chamber President at the time and feasibility committee member, Dustin Walker, said “he was pretty passionate about this.” He said, “this is a way to give back to the community, to my own kids as well.”
Dungan Engineering worked closely from the time the feasibility study began until the first pitch at the baseball complex. Dungan worked tirelessly often time chipping in to help contractors complete work on Saturday to reach the goal of completion by opening day. One of the goals in creating this new complex was to provide a facility that all kids were welcome to participate. To make this possible a foundation was created to aid in scholarships for players and also raise money to support the facility where needed. Among the improvements: 5 baseball fields, battling cages, covered pavilion, concession building, air conditioned restrooms, paved parking lot, new access road, and new bridge crossing. An extensive study of the site was completed by Dungan Engineering and the sub-consultants that worked with Dungan. The process included public involvement and detailed involvement with the Lincoln Civic Center to meet all the project needs and objectives. Throughout the entire project emphasis on meeting local needs and trending new requirements for baseball facilities was always maintained. This project transformed undeveloped land that was mainly inaccessible due to a drainage ditch. Before the project began a new bridge was installed to access the property. The property was primarily hilly which made it challenging to fit five fields and the other site amenities. We were able to fit everything the client requested in the area provided. With budget in mind, Dungan Engineering, was able to design the site in a manner that no outside fill (dirt) was required. The site balanced the earthwork thus saving tens of thousands of dollars.
Original/ Innovative Application
In addition to providing the design for the new baseball complex, a new access road connecting the City of Brookhaven’s softball complex with the new baseball complex needed to be improved to handle increased traffic flow. This caused some backlash from the city due to potential conflicts and issues with traffic entering both facilities in the vicinity. Dungan was tasked with developing a new road that would be easy to navigate and handle traffic during peak times. Dedicated lanes to each facility were created along with a new turn lane and a yield only exit lane to expedite traffic while leaving the facility.
Engineering Value/ Public Perception
Often times the work of engineers goes unseen and unnoticed. Engineers make things work, make life better and adapt to make infrastructure better. This project provided a unique opportunity to make the community better in a very noticeable way. This project added local value and quality of life enhancements that will benefit residents of Lincoln County and Brookhaven for generations.
Project Engineer, Brock White, had to find a healthy balance of satisfying the client needs and wants and keeping the project on time and within budget. With this project it was incredibly hard to deliver the final product and keep it in budget. Everyone wanted the “Wow factor,” that’s what everyone expected and what Dungan Engineering was expected to deliver.
Social/Economic and Sustainable Design
Social, economic and sustainable designs are very important to Lincoln County and to Dungan Engineering. Dungan considers those aspects during each phase of the project including: conceptual design, preliminary design, final design and throughout the construction process.
From a social point of view, the project provided a safe new state of the art facility that was located in an existing recreational area moving it from an industrial setting. The old facilities were located near an abandoned factory. The old facilities provided some apparent hazards being so close to the abandoned factory.
From an economic viewpoint, the case study completed by the feasibility committee indicated a new state of the art facility would have a direct impact on tourism and visitor spending. The potential impacts from the facility will be a direct economic activity and increase the local sales tax generated through visitor spending. The first large tournament hosted drew 32 teams. In turn, all the hotels in Brookhaven were booked and the restaurants flooded with business. Economic Development doesn’t always come packed in the form of a new large industry moving to the county.
In order to maintain sustainable design, careful attention to products used and overall site layout was carefully considered. The goal was to develop a site that would sustain new trends in baseball and to have an inviting site that was appealing to the eye. Through the help of landscape architect, Trent Rhodes, the site was ornamented with brick features and planting that was environmentally friendly and required little long-term maintenance.
The complexity and difficulty during this project was completed during a short project construction timeframe. Normally a project of this magnitude would take more than 12 months to complete. Early on during the project the soils became dry due to one of the worst drought in 30 plus years. The project consisted of moving over 60,000 cubic yards of soils to allow for the construction of new fields. Contractors and engineers had to deal with these issues daily to keep the project on track. Earthwork began in June of 2015 and the drought continued to early November of 2015. This drought often halted or slowed the process of compacting soils or preparing the site of continued development. once out of the drought and down to crunch time for completing the project from November 2015 to March 2016 the site began to receive significant rain. In most cases, the project would discontinue work and continue once the weather was favorable. However, this was not an option, due to the pledge to provide a new facility for opening day in April 2016. Through the efforts of dedicated contractors, owner, the engineer and timely decision making, the project was completed on time.
Exceeding Client/ Owner Needs
Dungan Engineering takes great pride in making the client needs a reality and this project was the vision of Lincoln County officials for a long time. From its conceptual design to visiting other baseball complexes across the region, we made sure everything was detailed in weekly meetings to discuss paint colors or brick type, and even the attentiveness of engineers in meeting with the stakeholders, to assure the project was exactly what everyone wanted.
Once the project was authorized by the Board of Supervisor, Dungan Engineering was able to complete the design quicker than promised. Dungan Engineering took the approach of all hands on deck to exceed our client’s expectations and often adjusted our schedule to meet timelines. The $3 million project was a unit priced project which can often be challenging to prevent overruns or changed orders. The project was completed within budget and only had change orders that improved the overall quality of the project without increasing costs. Careful attention to quantities used and clever ideas from the engineering team allowed the owner to add several wanted items that were initially out of budget that added aesthetic value to the project. The total project cost including engineering fees was $3,229,012.