Capaha's new press box fittingly took teamwork

Wednesday, March 29, 2006
After some prodding, Jess Bolen of the Capaha Field Improvement Committee cut the ribbon for the new press box at the ballpark. (Toby Carrig)

Jess Bolen reluctantly grabbed the large wooden scissors to cut the ribbon Tuesday in the Capaha Field's new press box.

"A lot of people had a lot to do with this," Bolen said after the ceremony.

His Capaha Field Improvement Committee worked with Southeast Missouri State University, the Cape Parks and Recreation Department, the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce and other entities on the project, which resulted in a 740-square-foot building valued at roughly $130,000.

"It was like building a home for your family," said Bolen, longtime coach of Cape Girardeau's summer baseball team, the Capahas, and a broadcaster on Southeast Missouri State baseball. "It's something you work on and work on and make changes, and you need a lot of people to do it. When you're done, it doesn't seem like it was too bad, but when you're doing it, it's a lot of work."

Bolen, who 15 years ago started the field committee with Jake Crosnoe and "Doc" Yallaly, said the press box project was triggered by a leaky roof above the grandstand.

"The pressbox was something I had thought about for a number of years," he said.

His travels with Southeast baseball had taken him to a number of other facilities. "When we came back to Capaha, we'd be crammed in this little bitty press box," Bolen said. "It just wasn't up to the rest of the standards of the park."

Now, Bolen said, it's the best press box in the Ohio Valley Conference, with two heating and cooling units, a meeting area, a kitchen and high-speed Internet connections. The facility has small touches such as molding, double-paned windows and fiberglass window shades.

The parks and recreation department provided the labor, while the field committee worked out the materials between purchases and trade agreements for advertising.

Dan Muser, director of the Cape Parks Department, said work on the project took a little over a year and included bolstering the structure of the grandstand to support the press box.

"As a project, it was a little unique because of the elevation," he said. "Just getting materials up here was a little bit of a challenge."

On hand for the ribbon cutting, Cape Girardeau Mayor Jay Knudtson, who played baseball in college, said, "I don't know if I've been in a press box before with a layout much like this."

Bolen said the facility is the latest product of a unique relationship between the city, the university and his committee.

"That's three entities, and it all works real well," Bolen said. "I don't know if that would be the case anywhere else, but when you have good people like Dan Muser and [Southeast athletic director] Don Kaverman, it's easy to get something done."

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