Alta High softball team seeks answers about inadequate fields, District respondsAug 11, 2023 10:02AM ● By Rachel Aubrey
According to Canyons School District, the IT department was looking into getting a wireless controller for the scoreboard at Alta High School. (Photo courtesy of Mindy Doyle)
Mindy Doyle was looking forward to watching her daughter excel in softball during the 2023 season at Alta High. Like many parents, she was eager to cheer and be one of those supportive moms who attend every game. While Doyle was able to be supportive, all of that was diminished by the fact that the 2023 Lady Hawks were unable to use their own softball field for much of the season due to a heavy load of construction and maintenance.
Doyle said she is not looking to point fingers, but rather she and the rest of the parents would like to bring awareness to some of the issues.
“Our family loves baseball, loves softball and have been really involved,” Doyle said. “Our daughter has played and she’s been excited to play for Alta for several years.”
Despite hearing that a brand-new field was in the making at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, once the long winter ended and it was time to use the field, there were several issues. In an email dated April 17, 2023 to Matthew Wolford, director of facilities for Canyons School District, Doyle mentioned the following:
“The infield is as hard as concrete, and it is not suitable for players to slide or pitch on. There are patches of grass that have formed into mounds 4-6 inches high, sprinkler heads sticking up and much more.”
In a subsequent email dated April 18, 2023 to Wolford, Doyle included pictures comparing the softball pitchers/warm-up area to that of the baseball pitchers/warm up area. When placed side by side, based on the photos, the two areas, which are both located at Alta High School, look drastically different.
Wolford responded via email on April 18. In his email he said the following:
“Today I corresponded with the general contractor, and met with our project coordinator and grounds team again, to get this information for you,” Wolford said.
His email included 15 bulleted points all of which were repairs being worked on and/or repairs that were completed.
Morgan Brown was the athletic director for Alta High School before retiring this summer and had been at Alta for 34 years. According to Brown, the remodel of the softball field began last fall of 2022. However, due to the weather and the amount of moisture the past winter brought, the remodel came to a halt and was not able to be completed.
Brown said the grass sod took some time to be placed and cited supply issues. In addition, Brown said one unforeseen issue that occurred was due to a busted sewer line that happened in summer 2022, causing the remodel to be delayed. That sewer line was fixed in early May 2023.
“It’s been a timing thing,” Brown said. “No one is out to get the girls’ softball team.”
Several of the bulleted items mentioned in Wolford’s email were issues or concerns that Brown said were being addressed and fixed. Because of the existing condition of the softball field, the team was not able to practice on their field. Brown said this wasn’t intentional and that both the school and the District were doing the best they could given the harsh winter leading into the spring season.
“We love our softball team,” Brown said. “We got great coaches and we got great kids out there playing.”
The current upgrades are the first the softball field have seen since being constructed in 1999. According to Jeff Haney, director of communications for Canyons School District, out of the $283-million bond granted to the District back in 2017, $2 million was given to Alta High School specifically for remodel and renovation to the baseball and softball fields, with each sport receiving half.
“I just would really like them to take this sport seriously,” Doyle said. “Because my daughter does and she is a student.”
The issues that Doyle brought up in her initial email back in April have been rectified according to Haney and the District. The “punch list” has been checked off according to Haney and the upgrades and remodel were completed as of early June. Some of those items on the punch list included, but were not limited to, corrections to existing sprinkler heads, sod replacement in damaged areas, over seeding and topdressing of the outfield, and aeration. In addition, Haney said that an assessment will be made in late August to see if more sod is needed in certain areas.
“We saw that we had not invested in improving the baseball and softball fields for 40 years,” Haney said. “And it was time for Alta to receive those types of upgrades.” λ