San Jacinto College’s sports facilities being upgraded
HOUSTON — To improve the quality of athletic facilities, work recently began on upgrades at San Jacinto College North’s baseball diamond, and work will also start soon to upgrade the soccer field and the softball field at San Jacinto College South.
Improvements in the $1.7 million project include a new playing field and underground drainage system at the North campus’ John Ray Harrison baseball field; drainage work, and installation of lighting to allow play at night at the San Jacinto College South soccer field; and field improvements, drainage work, and installation of lighting to allow play at night at the South campus softball field.
Dr. Ron Rucker, San Jacinto College vice chancellor for administration, says the drainage system that will be installed at the North campus baseball field is similar to a state-of-the-art underground system at Rice University.
“This drainage for this system is so good that even after a heavy rain, they should be able to resume playing a game in about an hour’s time,” commented Rucker.
In order to install the new underground drainage system, the existing playing field will be removed and a new playing field will be built.
The baseball diamond has been in use since the North campus opened in 1975 and Rucker says time has taken a toll on the facility. “There has been quite a lot of subsidence in the property around the baseball field, and consequently there are some recurring pooling problems in the outfield areas,” he noted.
Work on the baseball field began in early January and the project will be finished in approximately six months. The San Jacinto College baseball team will not be able to play any games on the field this season. Consequently, home games will be played at various Houston-area locations, including Baseball USA and Humble High School, and the team will have to practice at several different locations.
Head coach Tom Arrington admits that not having any “home field advantage” and practicing on different fields will be a tough challenge for the team. “According to statistics, approximately 70 percent of baseball game wins are home games,” he commented. “That’s a statistic we are looking to decrease.”
The team is currently using four different practice sites to prepare for the season, including the bullpen areas at Harrison Field, the batting cages, an adjacent vacant field, and North Shore High School’s baseball field. “Though faced with the difficulty of moving from field to field to accomplish our goals, psychologically we as a group have accepted this challenge and are committed to excellence in the face of adversity,” Arrington remarked.
Arrington said the improvements will make a great difference for the San Jacinto College baseball program. “San Jacinto College is committed to providing an optimal environment for learning and achieving for all students, faculty, and staff, and that includes athletics and the baseball program,” he said. “We look forward to the completion of the project and are very thankful for the commitment and foresight of the College’s board of trustees and administration.”
David Santesteban, athletic director and men’s soccer coach at San Jacinto College South, says the upgrades will also enhance the athletic programs at the South campus, especially with the installation of lights.
“The ability for our teams to showcase their talents by playing at night will allow for more community involvement, and night games will also allow student athletes to play home games without missing classes,” Santesteban remarked. “The upgraded facilities will also help to bring community members and potential student-athletes onto our campus, which will help to build the community atmosphere here at our College.”
Work on the South campus softball field will not begin until after the season is over in late April, so the women’s softball team will not have to play any home games off-campus. Work on the South campus soccer field will begin in mid-March, which means some of the men’s soccer team’s spring home scrimmage matches may be played off-campus.
San Jacinto College offers two athletic programs at each of the three campuses — men’s basketball and women’s volleyball at the Central campus; baseball and women’s basketball at the North campus; and men’s soccer and softball at the South campus. For more information about San Jacinto College athletics, please visit www.sanjacsports.com.
For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, or visit www.sanjac.edu.