The PCM softball field as seen on Jan. 25. One of the options for moving the fields involved moving the baseball field next to it. (Gabe Graber)
The PCM softball field as seen on Jan. 25. One of the options for moving the fields involved moving the baseball field next to it.

Gabe Graber

A sporty situation

January 29, 2023

In the summer, PCM has two sports seasons: baseball and softball. The softball field is at the high school in Monroe and the baseball field is by the middle and elementary school in Prairie City. At recent Facilities Advisory Committee meetings, the idea of bringing them together in one location was discussed. PCM superintendent Michelle Havenstrite talked about why this change needed to happen. 

“Ever since I moved here, I have been hearing people say ‘I wish our baseball and softball teams were together,’” Havenstrite explained. “‘Other schools have the teams together. It’s such an inconvenience when I have a kid playing softball and a kid playing baseball.’”

One of those parents, Brent Fridley, was also part of the discussion when it was addressed at the meeting. 

“Once we decided that it has to happen at some point, that’s when we started to talk about what that looks like and where everything will go,” Fridley said. 

One of the main benefits of moving the fields together is that communication will be easier. 

“For visiting teams coming to PCM, it can be clear that our baseball and softball fields are together is one of the main benefits,” Fridley said. “It also makes sense for concession stands. We can have one stand so we don’t have to find people to work both baseball and softball concession stands.” 

With the property owned by PCM Schools, moving them together would be a realistic idea. It would only be a matter of where the fields actually went. There are two possibilities: by the high school in Monroe or the Middle or Elementary schools in Prairie City. 

“We hired an architect for this idea,” Havenstrite said. “We looked at moving the softball field to Prairie City and it fits. They would have to be where the middle school track is now. That won’t work because then we are out a track for middle schoolers. We looked at moving them both to Monroe. That wasn’t the best solution because it takes up parking space.”

There is a best case scenario, which doesn’t involve either of the school properties, but it is very unlikely that it would happen. 

“The best case scenario is that PCM acquires ten acres of land somewhere between the towns and builds the fields there,” Havenstrite explained. “We could acquire the land through a farmer or someone.”

One of the main problems is that no matter what happens, there will be very little space around for anything else. Also, there are more important issues that need to be dealt with soon, and even solving them would create new problems. 

“The baseball field scoreboard is terrible and it needs new lights,” explained Havenstrite. “They were recently rewired and they’re just not the best. The softball field also needs new lights. But even when that is done, people will be mad because we spent so much money on the fields and they still aren’t together.”

 A project this big has a long timetable. Once decisions are made and construction is over, significant time will have passed. 

“Once construction starts, it will be a minimum of five years from now. I would love to have both of the fields together ten years from now, realistically,” Havenstrite said.  

The main goal is to provide the PCM community with what it needs to improve for the future. 

“As my high school daughter gets older, I would love to go to her softball games but also be able to support the baseball team as well. Then when my two sons get older it would work vice versa. I could watch them play but also support the softball team,” Fridley said.

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