With the toss of a few softballs, Kilgore College officials and supporters officially opened the Ballpark at KC Commons Complex.
“It belongs to you,” Kilgore College President Brenda Kays told the Rangers softball team, who went on to beat Crowder Junior College 11-2 in the first game on the new field, the first match of the Kilgore Invitational.
“This is our field of dreams,” Kilgore College President Brenda Kays said from home plate of the newest Kilgore College facility.
The softball field and complex has been nearly a year in the making with Kilgore College trustees unanimously approving the project in March 2016.
“You realized when you accepted a proposal from Kilgore ISD to trade this piece of land for dual credit tuition that you were creating a win-win scenario,” Kays said, noting the October 2015 interlocal agreement with Kilgore ISD. “Not only will the college be able to expand its footprint but more students would be afforded access to higher education.”
The softball field is the first phase in the KC Commons Complex project that includes future plans to repurpose the remaining buildings from the former Kilgore Heights Elementary School campus, adding a second softball field and creating a parking area that will double as a band practice space.
To honor the legacy of the former school and the memories people have from its halls, Energy Weldfab owner Mike Clements refurbished the original flag pole that stood in front of the school and added a few feet to create a 54-foot flag pole to mark the entrance of the facility. The pole, installed by KK Mobbs Construction, sits atop a time capsule with newspapers, softballs and other memorabilia to mark the occasion.
KK Mobbs Construction, which has done the entire project, will also install a memorial bench near the flag pole that will reflect the former school's façade.
Kays said the generosity of Mobbs Construction has resulted in a field the college “never dreamed” it could have.
“Nothing worth accomplishing is ever accomplished in isolation, and the new Kilgore Commons softball field is not an exception to this rule,” Kays said before thanking KC Athletics Director Jimmy Rieves, head softball coach Leslie Messina and the entire softball team.
“This is just another step in the right direction, and we’re looking forward at some point to the next phases of this… I think it’s great. You look at the crowd, and you look at the enthusiasm. The weather smiled on us. I swell up with pride with anything like this, just a great event.”