Maroons to make Stodden Park their home field

This spring, when crews began work on the new Butte American Legion Baseball field at Copper Mountain Park, it left the Butte Central Maroons Softball team without a place to practice and host its home games.

The new baseball field at Copper Mountain is being constructed at the site where the Maroons have played most of their home games since the early 2000s.

“The new American Legion Field project is very important to our community and we are excited for the Butte Miners and Muckers,”, Butte Central President Don Peoples, Jr. said. “It did, however, present a major challenge for our Butte Central Lady Maroon Softball team.”

In response to the news of the changes at Copper Mountain, the Butte Central Athletic Department began searching for a new home field for the softball team. Locations were explored in hopes of finding a new home field for the Maroons. Preliminary cost estimates of building a new softball field at these locations proved to be in the $60,000-$100,000 range.

In discussions with Butte Silver Bow Recreation Director Jay Ellington, it was suggested that the Butte School District be approached concerning the possibility of Butte Central obtaining permission to practice and play at Stodden.

In 2013 and 2014, the Butte School District provided Butte Silver Bow with $156,000 to renovate the three softball fields at Stodden Park.   A memorandum of understanding provided the Bulldogs priority use of the three fields during the months of the high school season.

Butte Central Activities Director Chad Petersen approached Butte High Activities Director Chuck Merrifield with a proposal to practice and play on Stodden Park Field No. 2. On May 18, the Butte school board approved a memorandum of understanding which granted Butte Central with scheduling rights and usage of Stodden Park Field No. 2 during the high school season.

In turn, Butte Central agreed to reimburse the Butte School District $44,000. The agreement calls for Butte Central to pay the School District $11,000 per year beginning this May and continuing through 2018. The memorandum of understanding will remain in effect and may be extended by mutual agreement into the future at no additional cost.

“We appreciate the cooperation of both Butte Silver Bow and the Butte School District to create this (MOU) which provided our team with a home field,” Petersen said.

The agreement will enable the Maroons to play at an outstanding softball complex with ample parking, new restrooms, a concession stand and state-of-the-art infields have been added to Stodden.

“It is very important to our athletic department that our girls programs have outstanding facilities,” Peoples said. “Stodden Park will be a great home field for the Lady Maroons.”

After signing the agreement, Peoples shifted his focus on obtaining funds required in the agreement. The funds were not budgeted during the current school year and will not be in upcoming school budgets. Instead, Butte Central plans to initiate a “Field of Dreams Project” to raise the necessary funds.

In the project, past players, former BC softball parents, current players and their families and BC boosters will be asked to step forward with contributions.

“We have an incredible winning tradition in girls’ softball,” Petersen said. “Our teams have made the state tournament in 25 of 26 seasons.”

The help of former Maroons as well as our current and future players and their families is needed make this project a reality. Several giving opportunities have been established to encourage participation in the project.

The Lady Maroons Diamond Club will ask former and current players to give $50 annually over the next four years. The Rally Club will ask former softball parents, BC boosters and fans, to also give $50 each year for four years.

A prominent sign listing the members of both clubs will be displayed at the field during the season and permanently at the Maroon Activities Center. Honorary starting lineup sponsors for each position are available at a cost of $1,000 which can be paid over four years. Honorary starting lineup sponsors will also be listed on signage during the season at Stodden and permanently at the Maroon Activities Center.

Finally, Maroon Field naming rights will be available for $25,000. The gifts to obtain naming rights may be made over four years and will be recognized with signage at both Stodden and the Maroon Activities Center.

“We are thrilled to finally have a home field for our program,” BC head coach Kelci Thatcher said. “We plan to add field decorations, signage, and other amenities which will celebrate our program. We look forward to a bright future and many more trips to the state tournament.”