Weathered CHS baseball and softball fields are getting attention

Bernhardt Golf is implementing a new drainage system

Warmer weather in July gave members of Bernhardt Golf the green light to begin adding a new drainage system to the Camas High School baseball and softball fields.

The construction company based in Beaverton, Ore., spent the last eight days digging trenches and fitting pipes under the varsity baseball field. Those holes have been filled with sand, which makes the outfield grass look like a football grid. Project manager Kevin Brown said it would take about three weeks for the field to be refurbished.

“The new drainage system will remove surface water off of the field, which makes it dry quicker. Like pulling the plug on a bathtub, basically,” Brown said. “This should improve all of the standing water in the outfield, and make the field playable earlier in the spring.”

A rainy spring in 2010 created a scheduling nightmare for the Papermaker baseball and softball teams. Varsity baseball only played one game up at the high school, while other home games had to be played at Louis Bloch Park or at the opposing team’s school. Junior varsity and freshmen teams also had several games postponed, rescheduled and relocated at the last minute.

“I hope this gives kids more opportunities to play on these fields, so they will have a few more home games,” Brown said.

Capital Programs Director Heidi Rosenberg said the Camas School District is spending $190,860 on the project. Bernhardt Golf has made improvements to several parks along the Columbia River, including Prune Hill Sports Park and Grass Valley Park in Camas.

“We have seen their drainage systems working well with other school districts, and it’s time it worked for us too,” Rosenberg said. “From a distance, I’m sure [Superintendent Mike Nerland] is celebrating. It was a tough season last year not having a place to play.”

The project was supposed to begin on June 15, but with all the rain in May and June, it did not get started until June 29. Brown said it would take about a month to finish all four fields, and that they should be ready by next spring.

“Our work will be done in about three or four weeks, and we will continue to grow it in and monitor it,” Brown said. “The fields should be playable by September, baring any more setbacks from Mother Nature.”