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UPDATE: Atkins baseball complex concession stand could mean large tournaments

Thursday, July 7, 2011 | 7:11 p.m. CDT; updated 3:37 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 15, 2011
This rendering is the preliminary draft of the new concession stand that will be built at Atkins Memorial Park baseball complex. The concession stand is part of larger plans to enhance the tournament experience.

*UPDATE: This story has been updated to include the most recent information, including images of the plans for the complex.

COLUMBIA – A Columbia architecture firm has been given the go-ahead to design a 3,000-square-foot concession stand with restrooms and indoor seating area at Atkins Memorial Park baseball complex.

According to an agreement approved at Tuesday’s Columbia City Council meeting, Columbia Associates, the architecture and engineering firm, will receive a fee of up to $26,700 to do the design work and perform additional technical assistance. The total project could cost between $300,000 and $450,000, and will be funded through the 2010 park sales tax.

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*Keith Miller, principal architect for the project, will presented a preliminary draft of the building to the council on July 18, and the plans were released. Construction is anticipated to begin on Aug. 29, and the project should be completed by March of next year.

The concession building is the next step in preparing the complex to host large-scale regional or national tournaments. To date, two fields have been built and another is under way. Ultimately, the complex could serve baseball and softball teams of all ages with 10 fields.

Mike Griggs, parks services manager, said no other fields in Columbia and few in Missouri qualify to host regional or national baseball tournaments. Such tournaments could draw teams and spectators from as far away as Michigan or Texas, Griggs said.

“There’s not many complexes that have big fields like we’re going to have. We’re looking to see how we can create a complex that can fill a void in the state of Missouri,” he said.

Griggs said the concession stand will have a kitchen suitable for serving simple food like hot dogs, hamburgers and nachos.

The air-conditioned indoor area of the building will be at least big enough to house four to five tables for eating and recovering from the summer heat, which Griggs said is important for the grandparents, parents and babies attending the games.

One of the building’s restrooms will be open continuously from March through November to serve practicing teams, and a larger restroom will only be open while games are played and concessions are operating.

Debbie Jameson, the executive director of the Diamond Council, runs baseball and softball tournaments for both the Diamond Council and Rockers Fastpitch Softball.

“It’s very important to have that facility. The concession is going to bring in funds, and also, having a facility like that will draw [traveling] teams in,” Jameson said. “And those teams stay in our town. The economic impact of a team coming in is very substantial.”

With two functioning fields, a third under construction and a future concession stand, Griggs said bidding for larger tournaments could start as early as this winter.

“The fields are great, second to none, in terms of condition and quality. Teams love to play on those fields,” Griggs said. “But right now they’re missing out on the restroom and concession stands, on the tournament experience.

“We anticipate that we will probably either break even or lose money on league concessions, but hopefully we will make it all up on the weekend tournaments,” Griggs said. “That’s where we will make all our money.”

Recently, Jameson ran a 59-team softball tournament at both the Antimi Complex and Rainbow Softball Center. She said the concessions were small for the tournament.

Columbia Associates worked with Parks and Recreation in 2005 to construct the two-story Antimi Complex concession stand. According to council documents, that project cost $245,770, with a fee of $18,061 for Columbia Associates.


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