New Dugouts Ready for Wrentham’s Opening Day Tri-County Carpentry Students Complete the Project
From left, Tri-County junior carpentry students Devin Chandler, Nathan Kushner, Nicholas Lanci, Lucas Sobczack, Sam Noonan, John Ioven, Elijah Turbides, and carpentry instructor Mark Spillane.
There’s nothing better than being around a Little League diamond on a late spring or summer afternoon. The young families, the crack of the bat, the sense of community, the feel of small-town America…. it’s perfection.
In Wrentham, a little slice of paradise exists at the end of Randall Road. It’s the Sweat Field Athletic Complex, and it has just gotten better over the last twelve months thanks to a dedicated baseball board of directors, some local business owners, and the Tri-County Regional Technical Vocational School’s carpentry shop.
Tri-County carpentry instructor Mark Spillane, left, and senior carpentry students Hunter Murray, Annabel Brady, Angelo DeCaries, Jacob Carpenter, Samuel Wojes, Conner Jackson, and Samuel Sepulveda.
The opening day parade from the center of town to the fields is always exciting. On April 22, young Wrentham athletes will feel a little extra excitement as they enter the complex. They will see for the first time new or improved dugouts on five of the six diamonds. After a decade of saving, and years of planning, the Wrentham Youth Baseball Softball Association (WYBSA) has improved (with lots of help) the Little League and softball diamonds at Sweat Field with ten new or improved dugouts.
As with any major capital project on public land, there were many moving parts and partners, including both the Wrentham Parks and Recreation and Building & Inspectional Services departments. This $70,000 project was presented as a gift to the town of Wrentham from WYBSA at a Board of Selectman meeting in September of 2021 by project manager and WYBSA board member Mark Anderson.
Pat Laughlin of P.L.A.N.S. Company, Wrentham, donated the design and architectural plans on a 10 x 20 open faced dugout with a poured concrete slab. The final plan was approved by the WYBSA board and work was started in January of 2022. Local general contractor Walnut Hill Construction did a major overhaul on the existing Gilpatrick Field dugouts and built two new dugouts on Pisani Field. WYBSA was very pleased with the construction, and the preferred pricing. WYBSA went to great lengths to hire a Wrentham contractor – and it worked out very well.
By April of 2022, the season was about to start so time was up and funds were limited. The remaining three fields were left for a future date.
Tri-County Carpentry Students Step In
In the late summer of 2022, Jeremy Barstow and Mark Spillane, carpentry instructors at Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School, reached out to Anderson regarding a pavilion project at the Sweatt complex that was in the early stages of discussion. However, with the plans for more dugouts already finished and approved, the decision was made by the WYBSA board to pivot and get started instead on two new dugouts at Heckler Field with the help of the junior and senior students in the Tri-County carpentry class. The students’ time was all donated, and the lumber was provided with fair pricing from Chase Lumber. Dowling Supply donated crushed stone, and SLP Painting donated the painting.
From September 2022 until late January of this year, the Tri-County carpentry class did all the work from excavation, shoveling stone, pouring concrete, framing, and finishing the dugouts. The students enjoyed the project so much and had time on their schedule, so an offer was made to continue with building two more dugouts, this time at Lorusso Field. At the time of this writing, those dugouts are still in progress.
The WYBSA has been so impressed with the students’ carpentry skills, and their speed and efficiency as they worked, that they asked the students to replace the roofs of the WW2-style concrete dugouts on McMorrow Field, too.
Under the direction of their instructors, the students’ projects at Sweatt encompassed quite a bit of construction detail, from excavation, foundation work, framing, trim work and roofing. It was a great learning experience for these young, future construction company owners.
Not enough nice things can be said about how professional the young men and women of Tri-County have been in building these structures that will stand for decades to come on Wrentham’s fields of dreams.
“It has been very nice to see the excitement of the kids watching these dugouts go up slowly but surely over the course of the last year,” said WYBSA board member Mark Anderson. “The year 2022 was my last year coaching on the Sweat fields. It was so very satisfying to see the young kids getting an opportunity to use nice new dugouts during last year’s spring and summer season.”