OGDEN — Over the years, Serge Simmons Field has hosted all sorts of baseball teams, from youth leagues to even the Ogden Raptors for a brief period in the mid-1990s.
From the bleachers, one can watch a baseball game and then, through the tangle of trees past the outfield fence, see and hear the hustle and bustle of Ogden’s train yard.
This spring, there’s another tenant at the baseball field at Miles Goodyear Park in west Ogden: the Ben Lomond High baseball team.
The Scots will play all their home games at the ballpark affectionately known as “The Serge” this season after their on-campus baseball stadium construction hit a big snag that kept it from being completed in time for games this season.
As far as early March conditions for baseball fields go, The Serge was in very good shape.
“You couldn’t ask for a better place, really, for a field to borrow,” Scots baseball head coach Jason “JJ” Miller said.
A complete overhaul of Ben Lomond’s on-campus baseball stadium — field, fences, bleachers, dugouts, press box — was included as part of a $31 million gymnasium construction project.
According to an Ogden School District Board synopsis from a Feb. 21, 2019, meeting, the approved cost of the baseball field renovation was $681,564. The goal was to have the Scots’ home field be ready for use this spring, but the weather turned too cold.
“An early cold spell made it so that they couldn’t lay sod down the week that they had hoped last fall,” Ben Lomond principal Steve Poll wrote in an email. “The spell ... warmed for a few weeks, but it was (too) late in the year to get it down.”
That rendered any chance of Ben Lomond playing home games at its on-campus site moot.
Anyone who drives by the school can see that there’s a dark-colored clay infield put down, but where the outfield and infield sod is supposed to be, there’s just cracked dirt.
“Those boys have been waiting awhile for a new field, they were bummed once we got the news. Some of them are still praying that we get a game in there but, you know, they’ve adjusted well,” Miller said.
A few seconds after Miller said those words, one of the team’s seniors, Kolbee Morris, walked by.
“Kolbee, how do you feel about not having a field?” Miller asked Morris.
Morris shook his head and made a “pfft” sound.
“It’s a little upsetting,” he said to Miller.
The baseball field delay is the latest impact to a school that has its spring sports teams playing home games all over the city of Ogden while the new gym and bleachers are constructed.
Boys and girls soccer play home games at the Spence Eccles Ogden Community Sports Complex next to the Ogden School District offices on Monroe Boulevard, more than a mile-and-a-half away from the school’s campus. This spring is the second consecutive spring the boys soccer team will play there.
Softball will play home games at Bonneville Park on Monroe and 2nd Street for the second season running. Now the baseball team plays games and practices at the Serge.
Attempts to contact Ogden City Recreation to find out how much money, if any, it’s costing for BLHS to use Bonneville Park and Serge Simmons Field yielded no response.
Holding practice at an off-campus site was a big worry for Miller. There aren’t a whole ton of Ben Lomond students who can afford their own cars and take care of their own transportation.
To help address that problem, practice starts at 3:40 p.m.
“We’re pretty disciplined, pretty strict and we haven’t had any kids late at all. They’re driving down here, parents are stepping up and carpooling. They’re here every day, none of them have been late,” Miller said. “Really, the parents have stepped up and helped us huge. They’re taking extra kids home and stuff.”
The baseball field isn’t the only construction project at BLHS that’s delayed.
The gym was originally scheduled to be completed by August 2020 but, as of December, the project was delayed 19 days and its targeted completion date was pushed to September 2020.