THIS IS HOW the Swope Park Athletic Complex will look as seen looking west from Keele Drive. The most unique feature of the park will be the 1,600-capacity bleacher complex (center). Topped by a press box building 32 feet above the fields, the stand is divided into four sections. Each section will face its own baseball diamond and Pop Warner football field. The ground floor of the "pyramid" will feature restrooms, a concession stand, and storage facilities.

 

(Sketch by John Bromley)

 

By JOHN BROMLEY Journal Staff Reporter

 

A ground breaking ceremony will be held Monday morning at a junior high school in Southwest Reno for a multi-use athletic park developed mostly through private effort and initiative. Most striking feature of the Swope Park Athletic Complex will be the central "pyramid" of bleachers, topped by an announcer's booth and press box. The bleachers will be divided into four sections, each seating 400 persons and separated from the other sections by concrete baffles. Each section will face its own completely

 

equipped Little League baseball field, or in season, a Pop Warner football field. The fields will completely surround the central bleacher compound. Entrances to the central area will beprovided from off-street parking lots on the westerly portions of Darrel Swope Junior High School property, on West California Avenue. Surrounding the entire complex will be a half-mile long track. A second 220-yard track will be provided around a separate general playing field.

 

Super Instant Park

 

All of this will cost some quarter of a million dollars, including a vast volunteer effort. Already it has been called a "super instant park."

Providing the hard cash for the base contract of $255,865 are the City of Reno with $60,000; Washoe County School District with $75,000; Max C. Fleischmann Foundation with $118,600; Associated General Contractors, $1,000; and the Fraternal Order of Police, $2,300.

Several private concerns in the area are contributing equipment, services, and labor worth $12,600.

 

The following persons and organizations have contributed to the project:  I. Christensen of C.B. Concrete with plant and equipment for concrete; Pete Smith of Nevada Cement with concrete aggregate; Sherman Locke of Calaveras Cement with cement for concrete work; Bill Granada of Martin Iron Works with reinforcing steel; Ray Hellman, architect with complete plans and specifications; Clark Gribben with structural plans and specifications; Rick Erwin of Farrow Electric with electrical plans and specifications; Jo­Anne Oakes of the Reno Builders Exchange with printing costs; and John F.  Rhodes Jr., of Semenza Kottinger & McMullen CPAs with specification typing services.

                          

Committee Guides It

 

Coordinating the vast amount of volunteer effort has been the Southwest Park Committee, formed more than a year ago to find a new home for displaced Little League teams who once used the fields at the Washoe County fairgrounds. Chairman of the committee is W.T. (Tom) Donnels with Leonard Savage, Bill Wallace, Ernie Martinelli, Glenn Hare of the Washoe County School District; John E. Robb and Edward Reed Jr., both of the school district; Reno Mayor Roy Bankofier; City Manager Joe Latimore,; Gene Sullivan, city recreation superintendent; City Councilman Ernie York; Les Hawkins; Dr. Don H. Zunini; Marvin Picollo, school district and Rocco Spina.

 

426 Without Field

 

The closure of the playing fields at the Washoe County Fairgrounds left some 426 boys in the Reno National Little League without a place to play. (Continued on Page 28)

 

Cooperative Effort Paves Way for Junior Ball Park

 

(Continued from Page 2) The league had been in existence for 16 years and served all boys in the area of Reno south of the river and west of Virginia Street.

 

Other recreation facilities for softball and Pop Warner football are filled to capacity. Then on March 12, 1968, a windstorm swept dirt and gravel from a large lot adjacent to the Swope Junior High School into the neighboring homes, Residents complained and began to talk of grass; and talk of grass brought thoughts of a new recreation complex.  The school district agreed to donate the land and entered into agreement with the city to take care of the project under a "joint-use maintenance program."

 

Lighting will be provided for three of the four fields initially, with underground equipment installed in the fourth field to be equipped at a later date when more money is available. The fields will each have scoreboards, controlled from the central "Pyramid." Each of the baseball diamonds will have dugouts, bat racks, and an 18- foot-high wire fence backstop to protect spectators. Each field will be separated from its neighbor by temporary fencing. In between the fields, access will be provided from the outside to the bleacher area.

 

Four Football Fields

 

When baseball season is over, the temporary fencing will be removed from the infield area to the perimeter track. Then the complex will feature four Pop Warner football fields. Although the end zones overlap slightly, no problems are expected between conflicting games.

"If it does happen, and we doubt it, we can always call time out for one of the games until the play is run through," Donnels predicted. The bleacher area will be built of concrete and steel. Seats are designed so trash can't fall beneath the stands. On the ground floor of the building, "inside" the bleachers will be restrooms, storage facilities, and a concession stand for refreshments. Two tunnel entrances will be provided into the building.

 

The bleachers will be surrounded by a concrete slab. Then, with the exception of the infield diamonds, the remainder of the complex will be grass. Landscaping and turf are planned for about seven acres. The grass will be watered with automatic sprinklers.

 

Shields Neighbors

 

Shielding the neighbors from the park's activities will be a fence and pyracantha planters along Sherwood Drive and California Avenue.  Donnels said the central location of the bleachers would reduce noise and events would not run past 10 p.m.

 

The general contractor for construction of the park will be the Savini Construction Co. of Sparks. The project will be completed in about five months.

The History of the Pyramid

 

Below is the text from an article that ran in the Nevada State Journal, August 17, 1969 that give a good history of the Swope Park Pyramid:

 

Four-ply Swope Park Junior Sports Complex Product of Vast Community Volunteer Effort