Dismantling the diamond - Butte Miners looking for new home

2012-07-31T02:15:00Z Dismantling the diamond - Butte Miners looking for new homeby Nick Gevock of The Montana Standard Montana Standard

Mike Semmens is making sure there’s almost nothing left over from the Alumni Coliseum baseball field at Montana Tech by the time they get done clearing out.

As manager of the Butte Miners American Legion baseball program, he has to get everything owned by Butte-Silver Bow taken down and hauled away within a few weeks so Tech can be ready for football season. The removal goes so far as to take away the clay dirt infield — special material that was hauled in from Missouri because it packs down and drains.

“We’re going to take as much of this facility as humanly possible, because we don’t have any money to replace it,” Semmens said Monday, as county workers dismantled the seats, took down netting and other elements of the stadium. “If we can knock the walls down and recycle the brick, we’re going to.”

Joe McClafferty, Tech athletic director, said the move is needed because Tech is planning to put down artificial turf on its football field. And the site where the baseball field sits is slated to house a future dorm on campus.

He said the Miners have known the move was coming.

“This isn’t a surprise to them — we explained to them how we’re trying to move forward,” he said. “It’s something that we’ve talked about for a long time and we’ve just got to move on as a community — putting down turf is definitely something that will benefit the campus.”

Alumni Coliseum opened on the Tech campus in 1962. The land was owned by the Anaconda Co. and was later sold by ARCO to Tech for $1.

The Coliseum played host to the Butte Copper Kings, a farm-level minor league team, from 1978 until 2000, when the team moved to Casper, Wyo. One of the reasons the team gave for its departure was the conditions of both the structure and field at Alumni.

The materials from the baseball facility will be stored by the county at the Kelley mine yard until it’s used at a new facility.

For next year, the Miners are planning to play their games at Copper Mountain Park, said head coach Jeff LeProwse. He said their plan is to make some improvements there to get through the next couple seasons.

“It’s going to be a couple tough years, but we’ll move on and keep playing baseball,” he said. “We definitely have to improve the dugouts, improve the infield and install some fencing so we can enclose the fields.”

Semmens said in the long run, they’re hoping to get a facility near the Butte Civic Center to build a permanent home. The Miners have put in a request to the state Natural Resource Damage program for some funding just for a flat piece of land that they could build on.

The toughest part for the next couple years will be scheduling games, since the lack of lights takes nighttime games out of the picture, Semmens said.

And he added that the move has left the Miners disappointed at the way they’ve been treated by Tech.

He said if they had a facility ready to go, it would have been fine. But they don’t and that’s made it difficult.

Semmens said this summer Tech didn’t even turn on the water that supplied the restrooms at the facility, forcing them to use portable toilets.

“If they wanted to do everything in their power to ensure we were leaving, they did it,” he said. “It’s just little things like that that have made this a miserable year.”

Reporter Nick Gevock may be reached at nick.gevock@mtstandard.com

Copyright 2015 Montana Standard. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(7) Comments

  1. soreallysowhat
    Report Abuse
    soreallysowhat - August 01, 2012 12:07 pm
    SO we are going to be "forced" to build a high school girl's softball field but at the same time can't include a baseball diamond, too? Why?
  2. Comparadun
    Report Abuse
    Comparadun - August 01, 2012 5:49 am
    “Semmens said in the long run, they’re hoping to get a facility near the Butte Civic Center to build a permanent home. The Miners have put in a request to the state Natural Resource Damage program for some funding just for a flat piece of land that they could build on.”

    Surely they jest? Natural Resource Damage program monies to build a baseball facility? With all the damage yet to be repaired to real natural resources, this is not something that should b funded by NRD. As also noted, they should be careful where they select any ground near the Civic Center. Much of that is, after all, the Parrott Tailings and depending on how that goes, they could be moving it again in the future.
  3. jlpro
    Report Abuse
    jlpro - July 31, 2012 4:08 pm
    I think the biggest travesty here is that tech was basically handed over several hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of improvements to that field that were paid for by Butte Silver Bow County, the field was built as a baseball stadium not for football and it wasn't built by Montana Tech. The lighting alone in that stadium I would assume would cost 500k to replace, Montana Tech did not pay a dime to have any of the lights put in at Alumni, they basically bought the field for a dollar and then took any improvements made to it & kicked baseball out.
  4. putz
    Report Abuse
    putz - July 31, 2012 3:10 pm
    This is so sad for the Butte Miners who put so much work into this project. I guess the lesson here is to not put major improvements into something you don't own, especially at Tech. Sad that Tech is now going to put $1.6 million into fake grass to go along with the 18' by 25' DumboTron. Makes me want to donate to the school. Right.
  5. btm_down
    Report Abuse
    btm_down - July 31, 2012 9:56 am
    They want the field behind the Civic Center? An area known positively to be contaminated? Are they purposely putting their players at risk just for the possibility of angling for some of that sweet, sweet, remediation funding?
    This will be yet another reason for officials to NOT clean up that area and the contamination head of the creek will inevitably ruin all the work downstream.
  6. uptown
    Report Abuse
    uptown - July 31, 2012 9:48 am
    Benaround said: "Dont you just love watching Butte DIE one piece at a time? Our local, socalled leaders, dont seem to mind, as long as they are taken care of.I wonder whats next to go in BUTTE? We have hardly anything left as it is."

    ==
    This attitude that Butte has hardly anything left contributes mightily to the idea that nothing is worth saving. It's ridiculous. Butte has more historic properties than any National Landmark District in the country. The problem is two-fold: 1) many Butte people don't care about them, and 2) the ones who do care don't have the money to do much about it.
  7. Benaround
    Report Abuse
    Benaround - July 31, 2012 7:35 am
    Dont you just love watching Butte DIE one piece at a time? Our local, socalled leaders, dont seem to mind, as long as they are taken care of.
    I wonder whats next to go in BUTTE? We have hardly anything left as it is.

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