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Facility facelift

image Alpha Building Corporation gave the Prairie View A&M softball field a new look for the 2017 season.

HOUSTON - Prairie View A&M just finished up its 2017 season with a record of 20-28 and a winning 8-7 record on its home field. Prior to the season, Alpha Building Corporation renovated the Prairie View softball complex to give the Panthers an updated look.





    Superintendent Anthony Nichols has been with Alpha for five years and has been a superintendent for 32 years. The Prairie View A&M softball complex was a first softball complex for Nichols.
    The project, which cost $546,766.21, consisted of expanding the dugouts and installing the press box, backstop netting, bleachers, vinyl coating between soccer and softball fields and fence around the ticket booth.
    “There was nothing hard about it but it had some unforeseen things in the ground, like the existing sprinkler system,” Nichols said. “That came up when we were drilling holes for the backstop, and the dugout had beams in the slabs. We had to go under the slabs for the irrigation system.  Nobody at Prairie View knew what was in the ground or where it was located, because they didn’t have any drawings on it at the time.”
    The project began construction on August 29, 2016 and finished on February 10, 2017. The timetable was critical with the first pitch at home on the horizon.
    “The weather was a big issue because we had to do it during the winter time and it had to get done before softball season started,” Nichols said. “There was a lot of weekend work. It was a deadline that we had to meet, regardless of the weather and time it was going to take to build it. That was probably the most unique thing about it - the timeline.”
    The press box was installed behind home plate and came preassembled. The announcers and reporters will work in the structure that sits on elevated columns.
    “I’ve built some gas stations a few decades ago that were manufactured up north and they loaded them on a trailer and brought them to the site,” Nichols said. “The press box was just the same. You order it from the manufacturer and it comes out here preassembled and all you have to do is run your power to it and build the structure it sits on. The bleacher manufacturer provided the galvanized structure steel for the bleachers and the press box.”
    The concrete work was done by Precision Development, and Nets of Texas provided the nets behind the plate, which are the same as professional baseball stadiums.
    The backstop was replaced with CMU block and stands three-ft. tall with pad placed on the inside.
    The Prairie View A&M athletic department had its own architect to draw up the plans. The plans did not involve any work on the field or in the grass, due to the issues that it would cause with the NCAA regulations related to field dimensions.
    “If you did any work on the field, you would have to update the entire facility to the new NCAA standards,” Nichols said. “If we did any work on the field, itself, we would have had to take down the outside fence and move it back.”
    Alpha poured a new concrete slab with steel columns and added CMU block and bricks for the dugouts. –cs

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Chris Schoonover chris@constructionnews.net