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Bannerwood Park ballfield going synthetic | Seattle University to partner with city for upgrades, expanded use
The city of Bellevue will partner with Seattle University to extend its use of Bannerwood Park for baseball games and practices, as well as sharing in the cost of installing synthetic turf on the infield.
The Redhawks have been playing Division 1 ball at Bannerwood since the program was reinstated in 2009, but has been limited to just playing games, said Glenn Kost, park planning and development manager for the city. Now that the Bellevue School District has either constructed or improved ballfields at its high schools, a scheduling gap was created at Bannerwood Park that will be filled by Redhawks practices and games, he added.
City councilmembers on Aug. 4 agreed to the partnership, and Kost said a formal 10-year agreement is being drafted for the council to adopt when it returns from its summer break in September. That agreement includes the city assuming $120,000 in soft costs and SU paying the $540,000 in construction costs to install synthetic turf at Bannerwood Park.
"We are committed to scheduling exciting Division 1 baseball at Bannerwood Park and with our weather in the spring — you know what that's like — a synthetic infield really ensures our opportunity to play our games there," said Eric Guerra, SU associate athletic director for finance and compliance, during the Aug. 4 meeting.
Kost told the council the agreement with SU is a win-win, because the Redhawks will use the field February through May, while the community uses don't start until after. The Redhawks also want to use the field in mid-February for spring practice and early September and mid-October for fall practice.
Synthetic turf also will create an estimated $35,000 annual savings for the city by reducing the amount of maintenance required at the park, which is more than the city brings in through rental fees, Kost said.
As well as finalizing its agreement with SU, Kost said the city also needs the approval of the school district, which owns Bannerwood Park. The facility was constructed by the city in 1979 through Bellevue and King County funds under a 40-year agreement. The park averages about 240 games per year.