S.F.A. signs lease agreement

NACOGDOCHES (SFA) - The Stephen F. Austin State University Board of Regents approved Tuesday morning a 20-year lease agreement with the city of Nacogdoches for use of baseball and softball facilities located at the city's west loop complex. The Nacogdoches City Commission had earlier approved the lease agreement.
Regents also approved construction of a new 740-seat bleacher system to be erected at Jaycees Field, home of the Lumberjack baseball team. The new construction will wrap around the backstop and will include chair-back seating in the covered center section. Funds for the $193,000 project are coming from donations and gifts made originally to the construction of an on-campus complex. Donors gave permission to use their funds for this project when plans were canceled for the new facility.
"We could not move forward with permanent improvements until we had an agreement with the city," said SFA Director of Athletics Robert Hill.  "Now that things have been approved it's time to make the baseball facility more fan friendly. Our field has always been one of the best playing surfaces in the conference, however outside the fences the accommodations were not up to college standards. This project will help get us there.
The approved lease agreement also creates a new field for the SFA softball team. The city is designating a recreational field located behind the baseball stadium for exclusive use by the Ladyjacks. Plans call for complete field reconstruction including an irrigation system, a new bleacher system with seating for 400, a pressbox, fencing, backstop, scoreboard and dugouts.
"We have extensive work to do in order for the softball team to play on this field, but our plans are to have them there by the 2010 season," said Hill.  "We want their facility to be on par with baseball in all respects."
The lease agreement also includes naming rights for the two fields and the installation of a new color video board/message center at the complex entrance on Loop 224 West.
"I would like to thank Nacogdoches City Manager Jim Jeffers, and mayor Roger Van Horn for their efforts in this project," said Hill. "The cooperation level was tremendous which should be a good sign for a great partnership."
Work on both facilities will begin in the fall. The baseball project is scheduled for completion prior to the 2009 season.