The 2007 baseball season hasn't begun yet, but the Southern Illinois Miners have already hit their first home run — in the form of a new, $18-million stadium in Marion, Ill. The stadium, being built by Holland Construction Services, Swansea, Ill., is scheduled to be completed in time for the home opener of the Miners on May 29. The Miners, a minor league baseball team, are the newest addition to the independent Frontier League.
Holland Construction Services, serving as construction manager, is building the open-air stadium near the intersection of Interstate 57 and Illinois 13. The ballpark is utilizing land that was previously mined for coal.
Initial work on the ballpark began in September 2006, says Holland Superintendent Pete Woolley, and construction is moving steadily forward despite rainy fall weather and unforgiving, unpredictable winter conditions.
"We experienced a lot of rain last fall and we recently had three weeks of freezing weather where we had a foot of frost in the ground," says Woolley. "However, we have had very good cooperation from all the workers on the job which has enabled the project to stay on course despite the weather."
Architect 360 Architecture Inc., Kansas City, Mo., has designed the Miners' stadium as a first-rate baseball facility. The design includes traditional ballpark architectural features such as the use of masonry, exposed steel, and a bold, intricately designed, structural steel canopy. Inside, the 5,310-seat, two-level ballpark will boast modern-day amenities such as 14 luxury suites (each suite will be climate controlled and include 12 outside seats).
The key architectural feature of the ballpark is the dramatic roofline. The 56-foot-wide, wrap-around canopy covers nearly the entire concourse and will provide shade for a large portion of the seating bowl. The second level includes the luxury suites, the press box, an open party deck on the third base side, and a 2,800-square banquet room seating 225 people that will be available for year-round use. Refreshment stands and a team store will be accessible from outside the stadium or from the concourse level.
With its playing field situated approximately 15 feet below grade level, the stadium is designed to allow fans to view the game from multiple angles. The concourse level wraps from behind home plate toward foul poles in left and right field. Instead of outfield bleachers, the stadium will have a grass berm around the outfield wall which will be open for lawn seating and picnics.
The Miners' new stadium aspires to become a new regional gathering place for families across southern Illinois. Featuring an artificial turf field, the ballpark will also be used by college and high school baseball, high school football and high school soccer teams as well as a venue for concerts and other non-sporting events.
In deference to the natural beauty of its setting — the stadium overlooks a lake and forested area — the grounds will be elaborately landscaped with distinctive natural grasses and vegetation.
Holland Construction Services and its team of subcontractors and suppliers remain committed to having the new structure ready for baseball on May 29. During a late February jobsite visit by Construction Digest, the ballpark was taking shape — a majority of the concrete was in place (approximately 3,000 cubic yards of concrete was placed for the seating bowl and footings), masonry work was proceeding and preparations were being made for erection of the steel canopy in March.
According to Woolley, construction is taking place seven days a week on-site. "We are trying to maintain a workforce between 50 and 60 people," he says.
Woolley and Project Engineer Guy Aman are overseeing on-site operations for Holland. Mike Marchal is Holland's director of construction operations.
The new ballpark represents a major economic development for southern Illinois, and number companies are pleased to be playing key roles in the project, including: Clarida Engineering Co., Marion — civil engineer; Structural Engineering Associates, Kansas City — structural engineer; Henderson Engineers Inc., Kansas City, and McCoy & Howard — mechanical, electrical and plumbing design; and Acoustical Design Group Inc., Mission, Kan. — audio and visual.
Key subcontractors currently on-site include Ramsey's Concrete Service Inc., Marion — concrete; Rend Lake Plumbing & Heating, Mount Vernon, Ill. — plumbing, HVAC and architectural sheet metal; Clinton Electric Inc., Mt. Vernon — electrical; and Harrisburg Masonry Inc., Harrisburg, Ill. — masonry. Chief suppliers include Affton Fabrication & Welding Co. Inc., Sauget, Ill. — steel (erection by Cassidy Construction Co., Belleville, Ill.), and Southern Illinois Redi-Mix Inc., Marion — concrete.
The Marion stadium is the sixth major athletics-focused project in which Holland has been involved in since 2002. Currently, it is putting the finishing touches to a $9-million, 50-acre municipal Sports Park in O'Fallon, Ill. Previously, Holland completed the $10-million Edwardsville YMCA in Edwardsville, Ill.; the $5.1-million Monroe County YMCA in Columbia, Ill.; the $4.4-million Kern Center YMCA in Belleville; and the $6.5-million Gateway Grizzlies baseball stadium in Sauget. The company has also built numerous primary and secondary schools with playing fields and gymnasiums.
Founded by Bruce Holland in 1986, Holland Construction Services offers design-build, general contracting and construction management services to commercial, retail, health care, senior living, light industrial, and educational clients.