SVU Requests Use Of PMMS Baseball Field

In search of a facility for baseball, Southern Virginia University athletic director Deidra Dryden made a request for the SVU baseball team to use Parry McCluer Middle School’s baseball field on Thursday at the Buena Vista School Board meeting.

Dryden said SVU has been fortunate and grateful to use the Parry McCluer High School baseball field the last few years, but added, “It does seem to be getting harder and harder with our university growing and our inability for our young men to get out of class earlier to be able to use that field.”

She added that the high school team has been practicing more and practicing earlier, so the Blues need that field more. Deidra said she has been looking closely at Shriner Field, the middle school field, and “trying to figure out if we could possibly restore that field and come up with a partnership where we were able to have it for the use of our varsity baseball team.”

“One of the most appealing things about this field is where it is located,” Dryden added. “It’s literally one block from the foot of our campus which means our student athletes could walk there and students could walk to games and that kind of thing.”

Dryden said she thinks using the middle school field would be an improved situation for SVU and PMHS, to have a field SVU could use and to have SVU put money in to restore the field, benefiting the middle school students and hopefully the whole city. “The idea of there being baseball games there again with a big crowd and concessions, it makes me excited to think about,” she said.

In recent years, the field has been used occasionally for physical education classes and PMHS junior varsity baseball practices.

If restored, SVU would use the field for practice and home games, and SVU would want field security and locker rooms. SVU’s baseball season generally runs from early February to May.

Dryden is in favor of keeping the name of Shriner Field. As for seating, she said, “My thought is what we have at the high school right now, plus, if it were possible to have some bleachers to maybe pull out on game day, because there’s no room on the sides, really, because it goes to the wall.”

Other discussion points raised at the School Board meeting included traffic, possible obstructions, stray foul balls and city planning.

Buena Vista School Board member Roy Mohler said, “I think it’s a great idea. I hope we can all figure something out. It’s clearly rotting away now, it’s clearly not doing anything, and a small school system, we can only put our attention on so many places. Obviously, we need to focus our attention on our own high school fields, which are not in great shape right now either. They need some tender love and care and some elbow grease and things to make them better. So I think if somebody stepped in at the middle school, this could turn around and become a really nice ballpark …. As far as the city things and all that stuff, and driving and netting and all that, we’d have to see how that looked as you went.”

Mohler added that he likes how SVU and PMHS are working together, with PMHS using SVU’s tennis courts and soccer fields. “I hope we can continue to work together,” he said. “This would be a big step working together.”

Also chiming in was Buena Vista School Board member John Rice. “I played ball on [Shriner Field] myself when I was in high school. I played on that ball field when I was a youngster ... I am tickled to death to see that field might be put to use again, to have baseball games on.”

“I think it’s a good idea as well,” Buena Vista School Board member John Roberts said. “It just opens up doors for a working relationship. It helps that area of our facility tremendously. Once we start going down this path, we need to make sure we put some protections in for us and for yourself.”

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