Nanaimo’s old baseball stadium could use a fixer-upper, and a new association is stepping up to the plate.
The Serauxmen Stadium Amateur Baseball Association, a non-profit society, was formed this off-season to manage the stadium and work toward improvements that could, over time, include lighting, artificial turf and other building and fencing renovations.
The City of Nanaimo purchased the stadium from the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district last year when the groups partnered to build the artificial turf field at Nanaimo District Secondary School.
Mike Holyk, Nanaimo minor baseball president, said the stadium association’s independent board will manage the stadium, work with the city to provide for maintenance operations, and “hopefully an exciting capital plan going forward to bring it back up to its former glory.”
The group introduced itself at a City of Nanaimo committee of the whole meeting March 12. Lorne Goodall, the stadium association’s president, expressed gratitude to the city for securing the stadium.
“We look forward to working with city staff to maintaining and bringing the stadium back to being the premium stadium in B.C.,” he said.
He mentioned that a four-phase plan is being prepared and that the first phase would potentially be lighting, followed by infield turf, then fencing and building improvements, then outfield turf.
Don Hubbard, an association director, said the total cost of upgrades would be approximately $1.2 million.
“The fundraising plan was a third, a third and a third. That was what we were aiming for,” he said. “A third from us and the community, a third from the city, a third from the province.”
Goodall said a study was recently completed on the building and found that the stadium was well-constructed, “structurally quite sound.”
Coun. Ian Thorpe said he’s thrilled that the association has been formed.
“I know [Serauxmen Stadium] is a gem and long has been,” he said. “I also know that it’s getting a bit tired and I’m really, really heartened to hear that your organization is going to be working closely with the city to refurbish it, improve it and bring it back to its former glory.”
The purpose of the March 12 presentation was just a formal introduction; there was no related motion by the committee of the whole.